In her startling debut novel, Jimin Han captures several genres at once—a terrifying thriller, a coming-of-age story of first love, a historical novel of 1980s Korea and Korean Americans, and a work of literature with an interesting structure and use of point-of-view that only ramps up the tension. I am reluctant to talk about the actual story so as not to ruin its surprising drama, though it has been often reviewed, but do want to say it’s a writer’s book and a compelling read as well. Who said fine writing couldn’t take one’s breath away with suspense and action?
This Burns My Heart, by Samuel Park
The story explores how a fateful choice colors a decade of marriage, and challenges a young woman’s ambition already constrained by traditional Korean culture.
The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee
What happens to life after you survive the atrocities and randomness of war? Chang-rae Lee examines the deep intricacies of this question and its ramifications in THE SURRENDERED, portraying three survivors (Korean War, China-Japan War) whose lives mesh at an orphanage somewhere in South Korea after liberation.
A Ricepaper Airplane, by Gary Pak
From a hospital bed a dying man unfolds the tale of an arduous life on the fringes of a Hawai’i sugar plantation in the 1920s.
The Calligrapher’s Daughter, by Eugenia KIm
Author Anne Sibley O’Brien (The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea) says:“I’ve just spent much of the weekend and all of today immersed in The Calligrapher’s Daughter, and it completely captivated me!
The Chinese Mirror, by Mirra Ginsburg
A father in ancient Korea travels to China and brings home something he’s never seen before—a mirror. Children’s picture book.
Archer’s Quest, by Linda Sue Park
Kevin, a middle schooler or a little younger, is a Korean American boy bored with just about everything, and has an ambivalent relationship with his math-genius father. By magic, the legendary Korean archer, Koh Chu-mong, from ancient Korean history (Koguryo period) appears in his room. (Young Adult)
Aloft, by Chang-Rae Lee
Lee departs from an Asian protagonist and examines the life of the emotionally bankrupt Italian-American Jerry and the people who surround him.
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
A New York City saga peopled with insecure, wounded, and angry resentful characters.
The Queens of Ktown by Angela Mi Young Hur
Told from the vantage point of the main character Cora, at age 16 and in her late 20s, the themes of this story are familiar.