As a Vietnamese American reader/book reviewer, I’m constantly on the lookout for Vietnamese own-voices stories. Growing up, the narratives surrounding the identity of being Người Việt have almost always been tied to the Vietnam War. From books to movies about the war itself, the portrayal of Vietnamese people have always been reduced to the ‘other’ without nuances nor stories about refugees, boat people, and community. There has been a sweeping wave of beautifully poetic memoirs by Vietnamese authors within recent years, deconstructing the dominant narratives while offering a glimpse into the multifaceted experience of being Vietnamese American.
Since I love SFF and YA, I had also hoped for stories to be told by Vietnamese creatives that would venture beyond the scars of war and into these magical realms. There is something empowering about reading Vietnamese protagonists truly existing while being immersed within these magical worlds. And with 2021, my hopes had been realized; there are so many stories by Vietnamese authors coming out!
While I’ll be working on a Vietnamese authors archive for Allegory of Words, I’m so excited to present these 2021 releases that you should definitely be on the look out for. So put these on your list, pre-order them, and support these amazing authors.
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
Release Date: February 9th
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette De Bodard
Release Date: February 9th
The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world featuring a queer romantic fantasy and magical politics.
The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Release Date: March 2nd
The long-awaited new novel from one of America’s most highly regarded contemporary writers. Both literary thriller and brilliant novel of ideas, The Committed is a blistering portrayal of commitment and betrayal that will cement Viet Thanh Nguyen’s position in the firmament of American letters.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Release Date: May 4th
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
Things We Lost to the Water
Release Date: May 11th
A stunning debut novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped.
House of Sticks: A Memoir
Release Date: June 1st
An intimate, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir recounting a young girl’s journey from war-torn Vietnam to Ridgewood, Queens, and her struggle to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Release Date: June 2021
USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang returns with a witty and sizzling new romance that shows how wrong you can be about someone…and how right they can be for you.
You’ve Reached Sam
Release Date: November 2nd
If I Stay meets Your Name in this heartfelt novel about love, loss, and what it means to say goodbye.
What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?
Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach
Release Date: Fall 2021
When Eliza Quan is snubbed as the next editor-in-chief of the school paper for a less qualified but more “likable” male peer, she finds herself caught between leading a feminist reckoning…and falling for the boy she’s asking to step down.