In recent years, the publishing industry has seen breakout successes by Vietnamese authors like Thao Thai’s Banyan Moon, Carolyn Huynh’s The Fortunes of Jaded Women, and Trang Thanh Tran’s She Is a Haunting. Not only have these books been praised for their sweeping generational narratives and emotional poignancy, but they also have received well-deserved accolades.
She Is a Haunting became an instant New York Times bestseller following its release last February. In addition, The Fortunes of Jaded Women was featured on Good Morning America in September 2022, while Banyan Moon was featured on the TODAY show’s book club, #ReadwithJenna, this past July. But this is only the beginning of Vietnamese-authored books getting the attention they deserve.
EnVi has curated a list of equally brilliant books by Vietnamese authors coming to your local bookstores this year. From heartwarming romance to nail-biting thriller, reach your 2024 reading goals by adding these five upcoming releases to your reading list.
The Last Bloodcarver by Vanessa Le
In the vein of Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights and Marissa Meyers’ Cinder, The Last Bloodcarver takes us to Theumas, a Vietnam-inspired fantasy world. The story follows Nhika, who is a bloodcarver — a feared being capable of altering human biology. When she is captured and sold to an aristocratic family, she is tasked to heal the last witness of a murder. All clues seem to point to Ven Kochin, the mysterious physician’s aide. But when she discovers something more sinister lurking within Theumas, Nhika must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to save herself and her kind.
The first in a duology, The Last Bloodcarver recently received a Kirkus Starred review with critics hailing it as “[a]n entrancingly well-written debut.”
The Last Bloodcarver comes out on March 19.
You Know What You Did by K.T. Nguyen
Annie “Anh Le” Shaw’s life couldn’t be more picture perfect with her loving family, dream career, and an impressive house to match. But when her mother dies, Annie’s obsessive-compulsive disorder returns and her seemingly perfect life begins to unravel. The investigation suddenly points to Annie when she finds herself in a hotel room next to a lifeless body. With the police’s suspicions on her, Annie’s main priority is to protect her daughter — and she will do whatever it takes to ensure her safety.
K.T. Nguyen’s debut is a suspenseful thriller as much as it is an exploration into the traumas of refugees and the true blue relationship between mothers and daughters.
You Know What You Did comes out on April 16.
Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine by Thao Votang
In Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine, readers follow 27-year-old Linh who begins to keep track of her mother and her new partner. Linh is determined to find out whether this man is worthy of her mother. However, this spying soon becomes an integral part in Linh’s routine, and her coping mechanism to deal with a recent shooting at her work. Linh is forced to come to terms with this new image of her mother as well as the trauma she’s carried since childhood. Thao Votang’s debut is perfect for fans of Weike Wang’s Joan Is Okay and Raven Leilani’s Luster.
Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine comes out on July 23.
The Crossbow of Destiny by Brandon Hoàng
When Vietnamese American Freddie Lỗ travels to Vietnam for the first time since she was young, she finds it hard to connect with her extended family and her own heritage. But she seizes the chance to reconnect, especially with her Ông ngoại (grandfather) who’s receiving an achievement award. Freddie soon finds out that Ông ngoại has hidden an ancient crossbow in fear it’ll fall in the hands of those who’ll use its great powers for evil. However when her Ông ngoại is kidnapped, Freddie must team up with her cousin Liên, and a mysterious boy named Duy to venture across Vietnam and find the crossbow before it ends up in the wrong hands.
The Crossbow of Destiny comes out on August 6.
A Bánh Mì for Two by Trinity Nguyen
In Sài Gòn, Lan looks after her widowed mother and their bánh mì stall. But her heart lies with the food blog, A Bánh Mì for Two, she started with her father which she hasn’t touched since his passing. On the other side of the world, Vietnamese American Vivi secretly enrolls in a study abroad program in Vietnam. She wants to learn about her parents’ history in the country they rarely talk about, and also try everything she’s seen on her favorite food blog, A Bánh Mì for Two.
Vivi and Lan’s paths cross, and the two find themselves helping each other. Lan aids Vivi as she tries to learn her mother’s history in Vietnam, and Vivi helps Lan to write again so she can enter a food blogging contest. During their time together, Vivi and Lan begin to fall in love.
Debut author, Trinity Nguyen, takes readers on a heartfelt tour across Sài Gòn in this charming sapphic romance.
A Bánh Mì for Two comes out on August 27.
Want more book recommendations? Check out these books written by AAPI authors!