In the first of this two-part series about Asian Pacific American Month, we featured an interview with Cindy Pon, author of the Chinese-inspired fantasy novels, Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix. In addition to Cindy’s books, here are a few titles from recent YALSA booklists and award winners that you will want to check out this month (or any time of the year!).
Bitter Melon by Cara Chow
Many teens will relate to this realistic story set in 1980s San Francisco about a Chinese-American girl who clashes with her traditional mother when she’s accidentally assigned to take a speech class instead of calculus. Chow skillfully depicts the academic pressure and the expectation of filial piety that will be familiar to Asian-American readers. It’s a multi-layered depiction: just as readers will sympathize with Frances’s need to be independent, they will also gain a glimmer of understanding for her unrelenting mother. (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection)
Huntress by Malinda Lo
This lush, beautifully-written fantasy is a prequel to Ash, Lo’s inventive retelling of Cinderella. In this book, two seventeen-year-old girls, Kaede and Taisin, are brought together to journey to the city of the Fairy Queen to try and save their homeland, which is being ravaged by an imbalance of nature caused by a supernatural force. Huntress has a vivid Chinese influence, with elements inspired by the I Ching. As Asian-American females have long suffered under the stereotype of being subservient and demure, readers will appreciate the strength of Lo’s protagonists as they forge into the unknown on a dangerous quest. (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection)