Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels Written by Asian American Women

A Compiled Crowdsourced Megalist from Twitter

This is a compiled list based on a Twitter that writer Muqing M. Zhang started and is occasionally updated when I come across new books. Last updated: Feb 3, 2019.

Check out the full Twitter thread here .

On January 11, 2019 Muqing Zhang sent off a tweet and attracted Asian American sci-fi and fantasy readers and writers out of the wood works. Asian here includes women (self-identified) from the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities, not just East Asian!

Ninjas from Gifphy

Please also recommend more Asian communities (such as Central Asian, Pacific Islanders), as well as LGBTQ writers and stories. This list of women is anyone who identifies as female or uses she/her pronouns. I haven’t read the authors on this list, so please help with tags & notes.

Note on list formatting:

  • Sorted by author, in alphabetical order, by family name
  • Link to author’s website in their name
  • The tweet / recommendation from the Twitter community (some repeated tweets, and have spread tweets for authors with multiple endorsements)
  • If single book: book name is part of the title
  • If multiple books, I’ve added in some titles or the series that they’re known for (not all the books they’ve written)
  • You can search keywords, such as genderqueer, trans, Asia to find what you’re looking for. Press “Ctrl + F” for PC and or “Command + F” for Macs.

Contents and a Quick Start

Collecting all the titles felt like a book buying high from Read Or Die (R.O.D.) — Image from Gifphy

This post as a catalogue has:

  1. TL;DR List & an Anthology
  2. The List: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books by Asian American Writers
  3. Conversations to Check Out
  4. Authors’ Recommendations
  5. #LGBTQ
  6. Honourary Mentions

TL;DR List & an Anthology

Screencap from — Katie Faigin‏ @KatieFaigin’s reply on the Twitter Thread

Anthology Collection: Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman (Editors): A Thousand Beginnings And Endings

Anthology includes pieces by: Ellen Oh (Author), Elsie Chapman (Author), Renée Ahdieh (Author), Sona Charaipotra (Author), Preeti Chhibber (Author), Roshani Chokshi (Author), Aliette de Bodard (Author), Melissa de la Cruz (Author), Julie Kagawa (Author), Rahul Kanakia (Author), Lori M. Lee (Author), E. C. Myers (Author), Cindy Pon (Author), Aisha Saeed (Author), Shveta Thakrar (Author), Alyssa Wong (Author)

The collection includes most of the writers who were recommended by the Twitter community, so a great sampler book.

Also check out the website Diversity in YA, curated by Cindy Pon and Melinda Lo.

The List

Image via Giphy

Renee Ahdieh

Repeating a lot of people, but anything by @Marie_Lu and @rahdiehJoelle 💙‏ @joelle_saraaa

Wrath and The Dawn Series

  • The Wrath and the Dawn
  • The Crown and the Arrow
  • The Moth and the Flame
  • The Mirror and the Maze
  • The Rose and the Dagger

Flame In The Mist Series

  • Flame in the Mist
  • Okami
  • Yumi
  • Smoke in the Sun

S.K. Ali: Saints and Misfits

Recommended by Katie Faigin‏ @KatieFaigin

Traci Chee

The Reader Series by Traci Chee (@tracichee) — Julia K‏ @jkparkey

The Reader Series

  • The Reader
  • The Speaker
  • The Storyteller

Kat Cho: Wicked Fox

@KatCho her debut is Wicked Fox @MarieLu Legend Series, The Young Elites, And Warcross. All have positive asian female and Asian male leads! Also other of my fav is @rahdieh with The flame in the mist (Japanese characters and settings) Lolita Luna🌙‏ @Lolitas_Love

Roshani Chokshi

Roshani Chokshi’s Books, especially her MG book Aru Shah and the End Of Time! — Mermaid Morgan 🌊🌊‏ @AsIsTheSea

We love Roshani Chokshi! Just finished her “Aru Shah and the End Of Time” and the kiddo was heartbroken when he found out the next book in that series hasn’t been published yet. — Moominmamma’s ghost‏ @mammatroll

  • The Gilded Wolves
  • Aru Sha and the Song of Death
  • Aru Sha and the End of Time
  • The Star-Touched Queen
  • A Crown of Wishes
  • Star-touched Stories

Akemi Dawn Bowman: Starfish

Roshani Chokshi has THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN and, most recently, THE GILDED WOLVES. It’s not fantasy (it’s contemporary), but I love STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman so so much and I think it’s really important. Stacey Lee has written historical adventure like UNDER A PAINTED SKY. — Camryn Garrett‏ @dancingofpens

Mary Fan 🐲 范诗容

The Dragon Warrior by @ktzhaoauthor and Blood Heir by @ameliewenzhao. There’s also Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by @AstralColt and Spin the Dawn by @LizLimRyan Ramkelawan‏ @ryanramkelawan

Known for the Jane Colt Sci-Fi series

  • Artificial Absolutes
  • Synthetic Illusions
  • Virtual Shadows
  • Starswept

  • Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon
  • Flynn Nightsider (first novel in a new series)

Emily Pan: The Astonishing Color of After

Recommended by Katie Faigin‏ @KatieFaigin

Julie Dao

oOOOOH anything by Marie Lu! There’s the Legend Series and the Young Elites series and also the Warcross series, which is most recent. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is by Julie Dao and is great and has a sequel. CB Lee and the NOT YOUR SIDEKICK series are great — Camryn Garrett‏ @dancingofpens

Sayantani DasGupta: The Serpent’s Secret

Grace!! Ty for shouting out! Also good recs for girl powered, PERCY JACKSON-esque Asian American fantasy include THE SERPENT’S SECRET by @Sayantani16 and ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME by @Roshani_ChokshiKatie Zhao 💛‏ @ktzhaoauthor

Somaiya Daud: Mirage

Mirage!!!! So so good — Seema Rao‏ @SeemaRaoWrite

Julie Kagawa

Has anyone mentioned Julie Dao’s or Julie Kagawa’s books? Both have series and my daughter loves them! — Susan Blumberg-Kason‏ @Susan_BK

  • Shadow of the Fox
  • Soul of the Sword

Blood of Eden

  • The Immortal Rules
  • The Eternity Cure
  • Dawn of Eden

The Talon Saga

  • Talon
  • Legion
  • Soldier
  • Rogue

The Iron Fey Series

  • The Iron King
  • The Iron Daughter
  • The Iron Queen
  • The Iron Knight

Also known for the Iron Fey Novellas.

Heidi Heilig

Recommended by Katie Faigin‏ @KatieFaigin

Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn — funny brilliant ! — Kathy Bryson‏ @kathybryson2

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and the Heroine Complex books by Sarah Kuhn could use a mention that they are adult books! Especially Monstress, it’s super dark. Kuhn’s books would likely work for the older end of YA readers. Great list! — Maija Reads‏ @maijareads

Heroine Complex Series *Note, older YA readers / Adult

  • Heroine Complex
  • Heroine Worship
  • Heroine’s Journey

CB Lee

Jade City is an adult novel, so definitely better suited to older teens and above. Another couple of good books I just thought of for your pre-teen: NOT YOUR SIDEKICK by C.B. Lee and HEROINE COMPLEX by Sarah Kuhn. — Fonda Lee‏ @FondaJLee

  • Seven Tears At High Tide

Sidekick Squad Series

  • Not Your Sidekick
  • Not Your Villain
  • Not Your Backup

Fonda Lee

I really liked Jade City by @FondaJLee, though some parts are pretty heavy emotionally, so maybe wait a few years? — Jon‏ @jcsilliman

  • Jade City (*Note an adult novel)

Stacey H. Lee

Roshani Chokshi has THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN and, most recently, THE GILDED WOLVES. It’s not fantasy (it’s contemporary), but I love STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman so so much and I think it’s really important. Stacey Lee has written historical adventure like UNDER A PAINTED SKY. — Camryn Garrett‏ @dancingofpens

  • Under a Painted Sky
  • The Radical Element
  • Outrun the Moon

Grace Lin

Grace Lin is a children’s books illustrator and author, with books for young children and Young Adult novels.

  • Year of the Dog
  • Year of the Rat
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Elizabeth Lim

Thank you, Elizabeth for writing Spin the Dawn and Reflection. Those are also good books too and I hope your books get acclaim and more fan art comes your way. — Ryan Ramkelawan‏ @ryanramkelawan

  • Spin the Dawn
  • Reflection

Majorie Liu

Monstress is a high fantasy comic by Majorie Liu Centers an Asian Am character and mixes Easterna and Western fantasy/mythology Kamala Harris is the Feds‏ @jay_murph2099

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and the Heroine Complex books by Sarah Kuhn could use a mention that they are adult books! Especially Monstress, it’s super dark. Kuhn’s books would likely work for the older end of YA readers. Great list! — Maija Reads‏ @maijareads

Known for: Hunter Kiss, The Dirk & Steele Series, Monstress Graphic Novel

  • Monstress (adult graphic novel— one reader says it’s quite dark)

Malinda Lo

Ash and Huntress by @malindalo are really fantastic fantasy novels with some amazing world building based around Asia — Alex Naase‏ @Alexandr_ite

Known for: Ash and Huntress universe, Adaptation Series, Riverside Series

Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu is also available in manga/graphic novel format — Lolita Luna🌙‏ @Lolitas_Love

The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu if you like dystopian novels. — G.‏ @MissGher

Known for: Legend trilogy, The Young Elites series, Warcross series, DC Icons series, Spirit Animals series (Full List here)

Sangu Mandanna

A Spark Of White Fire by @SanguMandanna! I absolutely loved it and it got me to re-read the Mahabharata. Hitha Palepu‏ @HithaPalepu

Known for: The Celestial Series

  • A Spark of White Fire
  • The Lost Girl

Maura Milan: Ignite the Stars

Thank you, Ryan!! I’ll also add @katcho’s WICKED FOX, @swatiteerdhala TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, and @mauramilan’s IGNITE THE STARS! — Elizabeth Lim‏ @LizLim

Axie Oh: Rebel Seoul

Thanks for the shout out! Also REBEL SEOUL by @axieoh is amazing! (mecha anime style robots & swoony kdrama romance). THE GAUNTLET by @KarunaRiazi is an amazing MG adventure (think Muslim JUMANJI). And FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by @jules_writes is a FABULOUS dark Fantasy Kat Cho 🦊🇰🇷‏ @KatCho

Cindy Pon

Recommended by Katie Faigin‏ @KatieFaigin

  • Silver Phoenix
  • Fury of the Phoenix
  • Serpentine
  • Sacrifice
  • Want
  • Ruse

Karuna Riazi: The Gauntlet

Thanks for the shout out! Also REBEL SEOUL by @axieoh is amazing! (mecha anime style robots & swoony kdrama romance). THE GAUNTLET by @KarunaRiazi is an amazing MG adventure (think Muslim JUMANJI). And FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by @jules_writes is a FABULOUS dark Fantasy Kat Cho 🦊🇰🇷‏ @KatCho

Sabaa Tahir

Andrea Tang: Rebelwing (2020 release)

THE DRAGON WARRIOR by @ktzhaoauthor (out this year!) is Percy Jackson with Chinese mythology, and REBELWING by @atangwrites comes out in 2020 and is about Asian diaspora kids, revolution, and mechanical dragons! Grace Li‏ @gracedli

Swati Teerdhala: Tiger at Midnight (April 2019)

If she’s a fan of Percy Jackson, I would keep an eye out here: http://rickriordan.com/rick-riordan-presents/ … They’re doing a lot of culturally and ethnically diverse stories that seem to be in the vein of Percy Jackson (but not written by Riordan himself) — Marwa Sarraj‏ @meowwa93

It’s not out until April, but The Tiger at Midnight is an Indian mythology inspired YA fantasy by @swatiteerdhala that is perfect for epic fantasy fans! — Rosie Brown‏ @rosiesrambles

JY Yang

#LGBTQ, #non-binary, writer from Singapore!

  • Tensorate Series: The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune

F.C. Yee: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

For a pre-teen who loves fantasy action, especially Percy Jackson, I highly suggest THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee

I second THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO! It has a ton of Chinese mythology and it’s so, so funny!! Grace Li‏ @gracedli

Mimi Yu: The Girl King

Recommended by Meg/Vic/Some swamp creature‏ @AnArmAndAMeg

Amelie Zhao: Blood Heir

i highly recommend @ameliewenzhao ‘s debut BLOOD HEIR which is coming out super soon !!! Ananya Devarajan is REVISING‏ @ananyad12

Katie Zhao: The Dragon Warrior

The Dragon Warrior by @ktzhaoauthor and Blood Heir by @ameliewenzhao. There’s also Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by @AstralColt and Spin the Dawn by @LizLimRyan Ramkelawan‏ @ryanramkelawan

Conversations to Check Out

Originally, I had planned to compile the list, but the messages in the thread were just so heartwarming to read. People seconded suggestions and authors also responded to fans. Here’s a sample exchange:

The Dragon Warrior by @ktzhaoauthor and Blood Heir by @ameliewenzhao. There’s also Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by @AstralColt and Spin the Dawn by @LizLimRyan Ramkelawan‏ @ryanramkelawan

Thank you, Elizabeth for writing Spin the Dawn and Reflection. Those are also good books too and I hope your books get acclaim and more fan art comes your way. — Ryan Ramkelawan‏ @ryanramkelawan

Thank you, Ryan!! I’ll also add @katcho’s WICKED FOX, @swatiteerdhala TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, and @mauramilan’s IGNITE THE STARS! — Elizabeth Lim‏ @LizLim

Recommendations from the Authors

The authors who were recommended also gave nods to other writers in the community, proving that it’s about growing the pie and not just hoarding a slice of it! Most of the tweets are already under the recommended books. I tried to collect them in one section.

Thanks for the shout out! Also REBEL SEOUL by @axieoh is amazing! (mecha anime style robots & swoony kdrama romance). THE GAUNTLET by @KarunaRiazi is an amazing MG adventure (think Muslim JUMANJI). And FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by @jules_writes is a FABULOUS dark Fantasy Kat Cho 🦊🇰🇷‏ @KatCho

Jade City is an adult novel, so definitely better suited to older teens and above. Another couple of good books I just thought of for your pre-teen: NOT YOUR SIDEKICK by C.B. Lee and HEROINE COMPLEX by Sarah Kuhn. Fonda Lee‏ @FondaJLee

Thank you, Ryan!! I’ll also add @katcho’s WICKED FOX, @swatiteerdhala TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, and @mauramilan’s IGNITE THE STARS! — Elizabeth Lim‏ @LizLim

Grace!! Ty for shouting out! Also good recs for girl powered, PERCY JACKSON-esque Asian American fantasy include THE SERPENT’S SECRET by @Sayantani16 and ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME by @Roshani_ChokshiKatie Zhao 💛‏ @ktzhaoauthor

#LGBTQ

I made a call out to extend on this list and ask for queer reads. Got some info back:

From The Gaysian Project‏ @GaysianProject

  • Sidekick Squad by CB Lee — “The “Sidekick Squad” series by @author_cblee ! Extremely fun YA series that centers on a Queer AsAm Superhero!

From Robert De Negro‏ @baizeodu (Cohost of Podcast of Colour)

From a conversation in The Gaysian Project‏ @GaysianProject with CB Lee:

The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang (queer, non-binary writer from Singapore!)

11 Works of Trans-Positive Science Fiction & Fantasy” from Barnes & Noble. Not all writers are women or Asian, but great list!

Honourary Mentions

This section was opened because some Twitter community members recommended Asian American men (not just cis-men, but anyone using he/his pronouns) as well. The list was originally created for Asian American female writers, but I’ve chosen to make space for the men who have been mentioned as well. Hope to get more trans and non-binary folk and maybe I’ll open up a section/post for them too!

Yoon Ha Lee

#LGBTQ — Trans Writer

You might already know this, but Rick Roirdan has his own publishing imprint for this very purpose! “Dragon Pearl” by Yoon Ha Lee is coming out in the next few days, and I think a sequel for “Aru Shah and the End of Time” by Roshani Chokshi is also scheduled! — emily‏ @aemiouly

The Machineries of Empire

  • Ninefox Gambit
  • Raven Strategem
  • Relevant Gun

Greg Pak: The Princess who Saved Herself

In the comics and graphic novel realm, The Princess Who Saved Herself and it’s upcoming sequal The Princess Who Saved Her Friends, written by @gregpak & @jonathancoulton with art by @takmiyazawa are great too. I know it’s written by an Asian dude, but the hero is an Asian girl! snbatman‏ @snbatman

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Gilbert (Comes out in June 2019)

#LGBTQ — Recommended by Robert De Negro‏ @baizeodu (Cohost of Podcast of Colour)

Image via Giphy

Finally, a big thank you to all the passionate readers, parents, and writers who contributed to this list and Muqing Wang for starting the conversation!

Real life dragons, found on top of Mt. Ishizuchi, at a shrine by yours truly.

That’s it! Let me know if you have more Asian sci-fi / fantasy female writers to recommend. Let’s expand it beyond just Asian American. :-) Feel free to connect on Twitter and also check out my travel blog for Japan and LGBTQ information in Asia: The Cup and the Road.

Thinking about the intersection of social justice and tech, with a LGBTQ and POC lense.

Thinking about the intersection of social justice and tech, with a LGBTQ and POC lense.