For a lot of us, romance books are a way to get lost in fantasy but still see 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 kinds of representation. Considering that May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s only right to try and find romance books with that representation. However, it isn’t always easy to find good representation or any representation at all.
If you’re in the market for books by Asian American or Pacific Islander authors then you’re in luck. These romance books are either written by Asian authors or have characters featuring that identity. Of course, it’s always nice to do your own research but these books can help open the door for you.
Even if you’re not specifically reading these books for AAPI month, then these are just some solid books worth putting on your TBR.
These romance books are perfect for an AAPI monthly TBR.
This list was actually inspired by author Jackie Lau. In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, she compiled a list of rom-coms that are under 5 dollars and written by Asian authors. It’s a handy resource if you want to branch out. However, if you’re looking at Jackie Lau specifically, she has a huge backlist of both indie and traditionally published works.
The best place to start with Jackie Lau is her alternative work and work in publication order as she only gets better from there. All of her books feature at least one Asian character and all of them are romances, so it is a guaranteed happily ever after. My personal favorite is her Cider Bar Sisters series which are short and steamy rom-com following a group of friends.
Keeping with the indie trend, another Asian author whose books are a delight is Ana Huang. She’s been a huge phenomenon on TikTok. However, her Twisted series featuring a plethora of delicious romance tropes is a great place to start. The first book, Twisted Love, features an Asian heroine and a white lead, which is grumpy-sunshine while her second book Twisted Games, features two white characters and is a bodyguard-princess romance. Lastly, her most recent release features an Asian male lead and a white female lead who are enemies with benefits and hate-to-love.
Moving into the YA romance world, there is I’ll Be the 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 K-Pop world, her family struggles, and her eventual romance with a fellow contestant. This book also features bisexual representation which isn’t always easy to find either. If you’re looking for something to read this summer, this one is perfect.
These next romance books are part of a series, and that’s Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Aunties series. These books are more fiction with some romance sprinkled in, but still fun. The first book, Dial A For Aunties follows Meddelin who upon killing her date enlists her aunties and shenanigans go from there. The second book, Four Aunties and a Wedding follows Meddelin as she’s getting married and once again, the aunties are back and trying to foil a devious plan. These books are absolutely delightful and so funny.
Last but certainly not least, is another indie romance and that’s The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan. This is a historical romance featuring Asian leads with the ultimate grumpy-sunshine pairing of Chloe and Jeremy who were childhood friends. This book does an excellent job of balancing the romance with a lot of plot with Jeremy hiding his identity and Chloe working with her father. Ultimately, the entire thing balances out for a solid romance.
That is just a small sampling of romance books written by Asian authors. While not every single book follows Asian characters, each of these books is a good starting point. Hopefully, you’re able to find a book or two to add to your May TBR. Even if you don’t read these in May, they are a perfect addition to any reading list.