May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, so in order to pay tribute to the Asian and Pacific Islanders, here are some books featuring Asian American or Pacific Islander American authors and/or characters.
“Alex & Eliza, a Love Story” by Melissa de la Cruz
Following closely in the wake of Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash hit musical “Hamilton,” Filipina American author Melissa de la Cruz released a series of novels that fictionalize the courtship and relationship of the “Ten Dollar Founding Father without a Father,” Alexander Hamilton, and Elizabeth “Eliza” Schuyler. The trio of books loosely follows the love story of the pair and is a strong choice for fans of the musical Hamilton and for readers of historical fiction with a romantic slant. For fans of romance novels, de la Cruz also has a new romantic fiction book “Someone to Love” that was just published this January.
“Want” by Cindy Pon
Taiwanese American author Cindy Pon released “Want” in 2017, a science fiction novel about a society that is plagued with deadly pollution and viruses. Only the rich can survive, as they are able to buy protective suits made by the Jin Corporation, which is actually the major cause of the pollution. Jason Zhou, a teen who lost his mother to the city’s corruption, is on a mission to infiltrate the Jin Corporation and turn this world of excess and luxury inside out. Will he follow his original mission, or will he follow his heart? This is the first book in a duology, and the second book, “Ruse” will be published in 2019.
“American Panda” by Gloria Chao
Chicago dentist turned debut author, Gloria Chao, came out incredibly strong with her starred reviewed “American Panda.” Taiwanese American 17-year-old Mei is expected to go to MIT to be a doctor, get married to a Taiwanese man, and have babies. As she fights the conventions that are placed on her by her traditional Chinese parents, and attempts to reconnect with her exiled brother, she questions if she can really ever be herself and be with the person that she really loves. Chao’s debut is incredibly sensitive, impactful and pretty funny.
Off the Shelves is published Sundays. Each week a different Kenosha Public Library or Community Library staff member organizes reviews of a handful of books available through the library system.