10 Asian-Owned Bookstores To Support (+ Some Book Recs)

March 17, 2021 | 12:00 PM

10 Asian-Owned Bookstores To Support (+ Some Book Recs)

By Team Fierce Reads

Stop Asian Hate.

The phrase seems simple enough. No one should ever feel afraid to walk down the street, run errands, go to work, or live their everyday lives. Our hearts break knowing this isn't currently a reality for the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community and we stand against the Anti-Asian racism that's currently on display in Georgia and across the country. Of course, there are many ways to stand and fight against racism. You can donate, educate yourself, volunteer in your community, speak up if you witness racism in your community, call your representatives, and more. A great resource for how to get started can be found here, at StopAAPIHate.com. Another way to support the Asian community is to support Asian-owned bookstores. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of some of our favorites. Bel Canto Books (Long Beach, CA) Arkipelago Books (San Francisco, CA) Eastwind Books (Berkeley, CA) A Good Used Book (Los Angeles, CA) The Lev (Los Angeles, CA) Orphan Books (Los Angeles, CA) Philippine Expressions Bookstore (San Pedro, CA) Femme Fire Books (Jacksonville, Florida) Maomi Bookstore (Chamblee, GA) Kinokuniya (Various Locations) And here are some books by Asian authors that you should add to your TBR (and bookshelves) ASAP! Displacement by Kiku Hughes Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself "stuck" back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive. Kiku Hughes weaves a riveting, bittersweet tale that highlights the intergenerational impact and power of memory. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo Sparks fly between a K pop starlet and a tabloid reporter in this heartwarming rom-com from Maurene Goo. 10:00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger. 11:00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious. 12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same. With her trademark humor and voice, Maurene Goo delivers a sparkling story of taking a chance on love—and finding yourself along the way.
Skyhunter by Marie Lu
In this novel laced with adrenaline and filled with nonstop action, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu creates an immersive world broken by war where the only hope against overwhelming evil lies with a team of young warriors willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.
The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.
The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop these monsters. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.
Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.
Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that finds their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another, soldiers determined to push Karensa back at all costs.
After another devastating battle, Mara seems ready to fall. But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?
The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi
Elin's family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom's army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin's mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.
Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come?
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur's The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page. 1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani's father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol—Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He Perfect for fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, The Ones We're Meant to Find is a sci-fi fantasy with mind-blowing twists, ready to burst onto the YA scene, from the critically-acclaimed Descendant of the Crane author, Joan He. Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her. STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The Metropolis—Earth's last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she'll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they're fighting for a common purpose—and falling for each other—in Zoe Hana Mikuta's high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown's Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu's Legend series. We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead... The shadow of Godolia's tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression is an everyday constant for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolian overlords. Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolian prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within. As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia's reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer—as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more... American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax. American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant. Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together. After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free. It’s the perfect plan - except that it turns out maybe Mia and Jake don’t hate each other as much as they once thought… Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins The award-winning author of You Bring the Distant Near explores identity, homecoming, and the legacy of assault in this personal and ambitious new novel. Katina King is the reigning teen jujitsu champion of Northern California, but she’s having trouble fighting off the secrets in her past. Robin Thornton was adopted from an orphanage in India and is reluctant to take on his future. If he can’t find his roots, how can he possibly plan ahead? Robin and Kat meet in the most unlikely of places—a summer service trip to Kolkata to work with survivors of human trafficking. As bonds build between the travelmates, Robin and Kat discover that justice and healing are tangled, like the pain of their pasts and the hope for their futures. You can’t rewind life; sometimes you just have to push play. In turns heart-wrenching, beautiful, and buoyant, Mitali Perkins's new novel focuses its lens on the ripple effects of violence—across borders and generations—and how small acts of heroism can break the cycle. Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Tanaz Bhathena's Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India. Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge. Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl—Gul—in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance—and discovers a magic he never expected to find. Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort...a world with secrets deadlier than their own. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang Paris, at the dawn of the modern age: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and Mariko Tamaki Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend. Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love. Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

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