Asian American Bookworms: July Recommendations

Summer is officially in full swing and that means it’s time to bust out your beach books.  Here are three books penned by some lovely Asian American ladies to help combat the July heat.

July book recs cover photo

1) Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok

Twenty-two year old Charlie Wong has lived in New York’s Chinatown all her life and leads a mundane life as a dishwasher, supporting her widowed father and younger sister.  It’s only when Charlie unexpectedly takes up a job as a receptionist at an uptown ballroom dance studio, she is introduced to a whole new world, and her perspective and sense of self are transformed.  But Charlie must keep her new job a secret from her father, who is suspicious of all things Western.  Will Charlie be able to reconcile her two worlds – Eastern and Western – without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity?

Jean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five years old. She graduated with honors in English and American literature from Harvard University and earned an MFA in fiction at Columbia University. Her debut novel Girl in Translation became a New York Times bestseller and has been published in 17 countries. Kwok currently lives in the Netherlands with her husband and two sons.


2) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song has never openly admitted her crushes.  Instead, she writes love letters to every boy she’s ever loved – five in all – and writes down all the things she would never say in real life.  Lara Jean’s letters are for her eyes only and she keeps her letters in a hatbox, hidden under her bed.  But one day Lara Jean discovers her secret letters have been mailed, and she is forced to confront all her crushes from the past.  Her once imaginary love life now spirals out of control.

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series; Shug; and the Burn for Burn trilogy, co-written with Siobhan Vivian.  She was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School.  Han currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


3) Control by Lydia Kang 

After a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she must protect her sister, Dylia.  But strangers using bizarre sensory weapons suddenly kidnap Dylia, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens unlike any she’s ever encountered who, by law, shouldn’t even exist. Using broken down technology, her new friends’ gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dylia’s DNA.

Lydia Kang is a YA author and practicing physician, who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Kang currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.


Photo credits:

Book Covers
Mambo in Chinatown: Amazon
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: Amazon

Author’s Profiles
Jean Kwok:
Jenny Han: facebook/dearjennyhan
Lydia Kang:

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