Hello friends! Today I am going to talk about some really awesome South Asian books which you must read! I am one of the hosts of the South Asian Reading Challenge where our aim is to spread the love and hype for South Asian books and get more people aware of these wonderful books.
South Asian Reading Challenge runs for the whole of 2020 with monthly themes and BOTMs. We also have Bookstagram challenges and monthly chats about your south asian reads. You can find out more information here and also sign up and follow our other social media channels for regular updates and recommendations.
Here are the South Asian books you should check out. Some of them are upcoming and recently released while some of them are backlist titles! This list is a mix of fantasy, SFF, Middle Grade, Contemporary and Non-Fiction.
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed. Esha and Kunal are the assasin-soldier OTP you need in your life and it is enemies to lovers excellence. Highly recommend.
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen? This book is high on my TBR and honestly I am so excited to read it.
No one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. This is another one of my absolute favourite series and if you haven’t read it yet, you are seriously missing out!
In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.
Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut. This is my MOST anticipated book this year and I am so excited to read it.
Somewhere on Prithvi, a mortal survives a supernatural attack. In the dark realm of Atala, an evil goddess prepares to do the unspeakable. And a Yakshi finds herself at the heart of an other-worldly storm.
The Professor is an eccentric genius and scientist who disappear without a trace after the shot off into space in a rocket from his backyard in Giridih, accompanied by his loyal servant Prahlad. what has become of them. Has he decide to stay on Mars, his original destination? Or has he found his way to some other planet?
Read on, as Aditi and Prithvi race through the dark underbelly of Mumbai-from quiet suburbs to gritty brothels, from forgotten colonial tunnels to the lights and glamour of the inner city-in search of a dangerous truth.
In search of a monster.
Sixth grader Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it.
Aru Shah awakens the Sleeper an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. The only way to stop the demon is to find reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
Violet Choudry may be part of the popular clique at school, but as one of a handful of brown girls in a small Illinois town, all she really wants to do is blend in. Unfortunately for her, she’s got a knack for seeing spirits.
From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.
Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future. When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition.
Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.
Selina, a beautiful, British-born Pakistani young woman recently lost her father, and finds herself struggling to cope with life, in particular with some aspects of her studies. Matters go from bad to worse, when a trusted family friend from the mosque offers to tutor her, and rapes her instead. With the threat of dishonour to her family at her back, Selina goes to extreme lengths to avoid scandal, and prevent shame being brought to her widowed mother’s door. It will take all the strength and courage Selina can muster when her life travels down a dangerous path, from which there may be no return.
In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. When the past and the present collide, she sees only one terrible choice.
Internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimis first novel for young readers is an emotional, beautiful, and riveting coming-of-age journey to modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posha preteen girl dressed as a boy.
A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and womens lives at all agesa spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls. The author also has another book called The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters.
A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.
Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pundit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted. To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.
When Viji and her sister, Rukku, whose developmental disability makes her overly trusting and vulnerable to the perils of the world, run away to live on their own, the situation could not be more grim. Life on the streets of the teeming city of Chennai is harsh for girls considered outcasts, but the sisters manage to find shelter on an abandoned bridge. There they befriend Muthi and Arul, two boys in a similar predicament, and the four children bond together and form a family of sorts.
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.
The youngest doctor in America, an Indian-American teen makes her roundsand falls head over heelsin the contemporary romantic comedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak.
A Match Made in Mehendi- Nandini Bajpai
Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.” But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.
Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.
In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant.
The White Tiger recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation —and a startling, provocative debut.
Through the fascinating stories of 60 women from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan, South Asian girls will have a chance to dream about lives for themselves that radically differ from the limited narratives written for them by their culture, wider society and the media.
Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
Thirty-year-old engineer Amira Khan has set one rule for herself: no dating until her grad-school thesis is done. Nothing can distract her from completing a paper that is so good her boss will give her the promotion she deserves when she returns to work in the city. The living situation is awkward: Amira needs silence; the quartet needs to rehearse for a competition; and Duncan, the small-town baritone with the flannel shirts, is driving her up the wall. She must decide what she is willing to fight for. In the end, it may be that this small-town singer is the only person who sees her at all.
Cross-cultural comedy about finding your place in America… and finding your heart wherever, from an amazing new young author. This is a story about finding yourself, finding your friends, finding love, and finding your culture — sometimes where you least expect it.
A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman. Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
The Simoqin Prophecies marks the debut of an assured new voice. Written with consummate ease and brimming with wit and allusion, it is at once classic SFF and subtle spoof, featuring scantily clad centauresses, flying carpets, pink trolls, belly dancers and homicidal rabbits. Monty Python meets the Ramayana, Alice in Wonderland meets The Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood meets The Arabian Nights in this novel-a breathtaking ride through a world peopled by different races and cultures from mythology and history.
A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut thats a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.
This list is just a drop in the ocean of some awesome South Asian books. You can join us on the South Asian Reading Challenge to read, hype and support some awesome South Asian books. You can find out 70+ South Asian recommendations on HERE, especially if you’re taking part in the Magical Readathon as there are recs for every prompt!
Have you read any of these books?
Do you have a favourite you would recommend? Tell me about it!