What to Read for #YARC2019 This Month? (March YARC Recs!)

Can you believe we’re already on our third month of the year, and #YARC2019 is almost 1/4 of the way done?!

I certainly can’t! Either way, if you haven’t heard about it, #YARC2019, or the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, is a year-long reading challenge dedicated to reading more books by Asian authors! You can find out more about the challenge and sign up here, if you haven’t already!

I’ve read 7 books for YARC so far, and am working on a couple more right now! (Jade City, For a Muse of Fire, Ruse, 29 Dates are my current!) And I’m excited to see if anything I’m hoping to read fits this month’s prompt!

Each month we have a prompt about a theme that you could base your books about for the month as a suggestion if you want to up the ante on the challenge, and this month’s prompt is . . .

For March, our recommendations are centered around Asian novels that challenge a topic or idea or society. This month, read a book by an Asian author in which the narrative or main character challenges something and inspires change.

There are so many options to fill this prompt, ranging from contemporary to spec fic, and I’m honestly soooo excited to start on my March reads!

Normally we feature three books as suggestions for what you should check out, but this month we’re diverting from the norm to feature six books by Muslim-Asian authors! You should definitely check out the following 6 featured books, if you haven’t already!

Our Featured Recommendations for March!

Please note that we previously recommended The Bird King, and it was brought to attention that it was by a white-Muslim author. We apologize for the mistake and confusion.

I’ve read 1/2 these books and can verify that I’ve given all of these 4+ stars!!! And Interment is one of the books that I am definitely reading this month! The links to the Goodreads page are included in each title!

Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

A contemporary debut about Lulu Saad navigating friendship, family, love, and life in general. Her life is totally under control. Ish. But Lulu’s done a little more damage than she expected, and she has to challenge her own perception of herself in order to get out of this mess. (I actually read a few chapters of this but then I had to return it to the library RIP)

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

One of my favorite reads of all time, a debut about Melati, a Malaysian teen, who must challenge her own ideas about both the conflict between the Chinese and the Malay as well as the djinn she believes is inside her, all taking place in a gripping novel set during the historical race riots in Kuala Lumpur on May 13th, 1969. (One of my favorite books ever, and one I will wholeheartedly recommend over and over and over again!)

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

A middle grade novel about Amina, who challenges her own ideas of fitting in and cultural assimilation as she enters middle school. (I am so so excited to read this! I don’t read a lot of MG anymore, but this one sounds awesome and is at the top of that list!)

Internment by Samira Ahmed

A speculative work about a near-future United States where Muslim-Americans have to live in internment camps, Ahmed creates a story where the main protagonist Layla both challenges her society and their flawed actions, as well as the reader to fight the complicit silence about suffering that exists. (Me = in love with Samira Ahmed and SO EXCITED THAT I HAVE AN ARC!!!)

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

A coming of age story about an Indian-American Muslim teen who must face the horrors of the real world and challenges stereotypes about Muslims after a horrific crime happens, as well as challenges herself to find where she belongs. (I really enjoyed reading this one last year and it was one of my favorite books of 2019!)

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A romance about a Muslim teen who challenges stereotypes about Muslims through her breakdancing and coming-of-age, all in the aftermath of 9/11. (This was also a great read, but I do want to note some #OwnVoices reviews that have critiqued the portrayal of Islam in the story.)

My Own Suggestions for the March Challenge Prompt!

These are all books that I’ve either read and loved or am extremely excited to shout about that fit this month’s challenge prompt! There are so many good options, I can’t wait to see what everyone picks up! (I apologize that half of these you are unable to read until a future date, but I AM JUST SO EXCITED!!!)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

One of my favorite books ever, I absolutely adore how Lei and Wren in Girls of Paper and Fire challenge every single notion we have about concubine love stories, as well as the patriarch, and create something fierce and powerful and amazing for readers to enjoy.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

I’m like, one chapter into this book and I love it already! It’s so lush and gorgeous, and the way that the characters challenge the boxes they are supposed to fit in, and take identity into their own hands in a story of discovery and conquering fear. AHHH.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

This book just came out a few months ago, but Rukhsana Ali is such a fierce main character, and the way she challenges her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, as well as what the people she calls friends believe of her, makes her coming of age story so poingant. Plus, I love how it portrays the Bengali community and provides so much perspective to Rukhsana in throughout her journey.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Okay, so I’m really very quite excited to read this, and I am just ready for ALL the enemies-to-lovers vibe. This one might be a little bit of a stretch, but I’m so ready for a novel that challenges classic romantic comedies and their historical track record of straight & white romances! SO READY.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Not only does this book have one of my most favorite premises ever (flower shops! subtle magic in a contemporary setting!), but I am so excited for the way that CJ both challenges her grandparents selling their flower shop and the effect the WWII internment camps had on her family. Also, did I mention–FLOWER SHOPS AND MAGIC AHHHHH.

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

Of course, what is a list if not with the one and only MAURA MILAN on it (AHHH). Ignite the Stars was hands down, my favorite book of 2018. Not only does the book challenge the idea that sci-fi can’t tackle important topics, like rejection of heritage, but it also tackles these topics in such a nuanced way that readers who have experienced these types of things would recognize their effect on the story. It was so subtle and masterful, there’s a reason why this is my favorite book. So read it!!!

Do you know what Asian-authored novel you would read for the prompt of “challenge”?

35 thoughts on “What to Read for #YARC2019 This Month? (March YARC Recs!)

    1. that is so good to hear!!! i hope you love reading them–i can’t wait to pick some of them up myself! ❤


  1. Lovely round up of books! This month I’ll be reading The Unlikely Adventure of the Shergill Sisters, by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I’m so excited for it and lucky to have received an ARC! I think it will be a great read that challenges the identities these women had carved for themselves as British-born Indians, as well as challenge the traditional “Indian travel genre.” I don’t know, it sounds awesome and it already has great reviews 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, Rita! and ahhhh i just looked it up and that sounds AWESOME? I’ve heard good things about erotic stories for Punjabi women so yay!

      and yesss i hope you love reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This month I will be reading The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong and I think it will be challenging some damaging ideas about mental illness (i hope it does because the other option is that it will be incredibly ableist)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tell Me How You Really Feel and This Time Will Be Different are on my TBR 🙂 I’m really looking forward to both of them so I hope they end up being good. And I still need to read The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali. I’ve also seen The Bird King on a couple blogs and it looks really interesting so I might add that one too. Thank you for all the great recs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn, I have read A Very Large Expanse of Sea last month, that would have fit the prompt haha. I really loved this book, by the way ❤ I'm hoping to read Girls of Paper and Fire soon, not sure I'll be able to very soon, but hopefully this year 🙂 Wonderful list, thank you for all the recommendations! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAY i am so glad you loved AVELOS too! the romance had me swooning and i really liked Shirin. and ooooh i can’t wait to hear your thoughts on GoPaF, marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve requested Tell Me How You Really Feel, but I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna get it, so I’m just on tenterhooks waiting for release day because it looks SO CUTE, omg ❤ I adore the enemies-to-lovers trope and never get this with ladies!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww, omg i get that this is so true (macmillan denies me 99% of the time it was only from a friend did i get a copy) but AHH I HOPE YOU GET TO READ IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN DOESN’T IT SOUND AMAZING?!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi,
    What a great challenge! But I thought you’d like to know that G. Willow Wilson is a white Muslim woman, not Asian. The book looks great, but since you want to highlight Asian authors, I thought you should know.


    1. Hi! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for the mistake and have corrected our recommendations.


    1. Hi! Thank you for letting us know. Someone else also brought it to our attention, and we have since corrected the mistake. Apologies for the confusion.


  7. Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve read the first six you shared, but from the second set, I’ve only read one. They’ll have to go on my TBR. This month I have read The Weight of Our Sky, Love from A to Z and Internement which were all excellent. I just found out about this challenge today so am only now joining. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg ahhh! I hope you love reading all of them! TWOOS is wonderful and a personal favorite and I’m so excited for Love from A to Z–I’m glad you enjoyed it! And of course, good luck with the challenge! ❤


  8. So many great books, I’ll definitely add some of these to my TBR! This month I’ve only finished one book so far, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata that I absolutely loved. It has hints of asexual and autism (?) representation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooooh that sounds awesome! and ooh, i’m going to save that rec because I have a neurodiverse and ace friend who would definitely like that!


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