Shirley Quan

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True to its title, Wong’s overarching account of one family’s business is told with beautiful imagery but reveals individual pieces that show how things are not what they appear to be. This story of people, culture, and lifestyles will be appreciated by readers who enjoy novels involving families and their secrets, like Celeste Ng’s Something I Never Told You and Jean Kwok’s Searching for Sylvie Lee.

Nuclear Family

Han successfully depicts the love binding the Cho family and the struggles they face, and themes of unity, assimilation, and acceptance run deep, whether it be for the country of Korea, the people of Hawai‘i, or humankind more generally. Filled with campy humor, Han’s novel will be appreciated by readers looking for a light, fun, yet meaningful read.

When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East

This probing personal portrait leads Barry to a larger story that will appeal especially to readers who appreciate being swept into richly realized landscapes and cultures.


Chou’s debut opens with promise and an intriguing premise, but as it moves along, multiple story lines are left open, and many characters (like Ingrid’s fiancé Stephen Greene and her academic nemesis Vivian Vo) are left underdeveloped. Nevertheless, readers who enjoyed Vanessa Hua’s River of Stars will appreciate this similarly humorous if sometimes unbelievable romp.

The Swimmers

Otsuka is noteworthy for her skilled storytelling and her ability to immerse readers in her characters’ emotional journeys. Essential reading for those already familiar with Otsuka’s work; those who haven’t read her are likely to be duly impressed.

O Beautiful

While the conclusion could have been fleshed out more, this multilayered and suspenseful tale is filled with unexpected and satisfying twists. A definite page-turner offering much to contemplate.

Love in the Big City

Centering on relationships (or the lack thereof), this work offers readers honest characterizations of flawed individuals from different walks of life who are all looking to find contentment regardless of their circumstances. Park’s writing is introspective and relatable, and the broad-ranging themes make this a good candidate for book group discussions.


While the plot appears to be highly dramatic, Lo’s writing is far from it. The contemplative narrative has some merit in addressing relationships between fathers and sons, including Lo’s role as a father to his own son, but the prose is often flat and meandering

Ghost Forest

Reminiscent of Amy Tan’s early work but more sparely written, this fluid and deeply touching novel -- sprinkled throughout with Chinese onomatopoeia and proverbs -- will be appreciated by readers drawn to stories of families, relationships, and identity.


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