For many of us, romance books are a way to get lost in fantasy while still seeing ourselves reflected on the page. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to non-white readers and reviewers.
In particular, it can be extremely difficult to find certain types of representation. Considering May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s only fair to try and find books to love with this portrayal. However, it is not always easy to find a good representation or any representation.
If you’re looking for books by Asian American or Pacific Islander authors, you’re in luck. These romance books are either written by Asian authors or have characters exhibiting that identity. Sure, it’s always nice to do your own research, but these books can open the door for you.
Even if you’re not specifically reading these books for the AAPI month, they’re just solid books worth putting on your TBR.
These novels are perfect for an AAPI monthly TBR.
This list was actually inspired by author Jackie Lau. In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, she’s compiled a list of romantic comedies under $5 written by Asian authors. It’s a handy resource if you want to branch out. However, if you look at Jackie Lau in particular, she has a huge list of independent and traditionally released works.
The best place to start with Jackie Lau is her alt and in-release work, because she only gets better from there. All of his books feature at least one Asian character and all of them are romances, so it’s guaranteed bliss forever. My favorite is her Cider Bar Sisters series that are short and steamy rom-com following a group of friends.
In keeping with the indie trend, another Asian author whose books are a delight is Ana Huang. She has been a huge phenomenon on TikTok. However, she Twisted The series featuring a plethora of delightful romantic tropes is a great place to start. The first book, twisted love, features an Asian heroine and white lead, who is grumpy as her second book twisted games, features two white characters and is a bodyguard princess romance. Finally, his latest version features an Asian male lead and a white female lead who are enemies with advantages and a hatred of love.
Stepping into the world of YA romance, there’s i will be the only one by Lyla Lee. This book follows Skye, a fat Korean-American girl who wants to be a K-Pop star. It follows her challenges in the world of K-Pop, her family struggles, and her eventual romance with another contestant. This book also features bisexual depiction which isn’t always easy to find either. If you’re looking for something to read this summer, this one is perfect.
These Next Love Books Are Part Of A Series, And It’s Jesse Q. Sutanto aunties series. These books are more fiction with a bit of romance, but still fun. The first book, Dial A for Aunties follows Meddelin who, after killing his date, enlists his aunts and the shenanigans go from there. The second book, Four aunts and a wedding follows Meddelin as she gets married and once again the aunts are back and trying to foil a devious plan. These books are absolutely delicious and so funny.
Last but not least is another indie romance and it’s The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan. It is a historical romance featuring Asian protagonists with the ultimate grumpy-sun couple of Chloe and Jeremy who were childhood friends. This book does a great job of balancing romance with plenty of intrigue with Jeremy hiding his identity and Chloe working with her father. In the end, everything balances out for a solid romance.
This is just a small sample of romance books written by Asian authors. While not every book follows Asian characters, each of these books is a good starting point. I hope you can find a book or two to add to your May TBR. Even if you don’t read them in May, they’re a perfect addition to any reading list.