Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Month! During this time, we recognize the contributions and honor the cultures of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
If you're a fan of historical fiction, then you will enjoy The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur. Hur captivates readers into the world of historical South Korea and each novel teaches us about different time periods with a compelling mystery storyline.
The Silence of Bones is Hur's elegant and haunting debut about 16-year-old Seol who is an orphan and indentured to the police bureau. When she's tasked with helping a well-respected young inspector, she ends up playing a major role in the investigation of a politically charged murder of a noblewoman. In a world that expects women and the lower class to be silent, Seol finds a way to have her voice be heard.
This was such a fascinating mystery book! I don't read much mystery or thrillers, but I loved being fully immersed in Joseon Korea and learning about the historical context when following a genuinely interesting storyline. Highly recommend this one!
In the The Forest of Stolen Girls, 18-year-old Hwani returns to her secretive hometown on Jeju Island after her father, a renowned detective disappears during his investigation of the disappearance of 13 young women. The young woman all disappeared in the same forest where Hwani and her little sister were found unconscious next to a gruesome crime scene after they had gone missing. Determined to uncover all of the secrets, Hwani realizes that answers she seeks might be within her own buried memories....
WOW! I haven't read this one yet. But it sounds amazing and if it's anything like The Silence of Bones, I know it's going to be such a good read. It's at the top of my TBR and should be on yours.
Next, we have A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman, a novel-in-verse about a young girl named Veda who is passionate about Bharatanatyam, a type of traditional Indian dance. One day, Veda is in a horrible bus accident on her way home from school and she becomes an amputee. She doesn't let her new disability keep her down for long and finds a way back to her beloved dance. This novel is such an inspiration and I was rooting for Veda the whole time.
Lastly, if you love myths, legends, folktales, and the like, then A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman is the perfect collection of short stories for you. Written by diverse AAPI authors, each story is inspired by traditional myths from diverse asian cultures.
You can find these titles and many more AAPI titles at Tuma's Books.
In compiling recs for this post, I realized that I need to diversify our selection with more young adult books by Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander authors. If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments.