East Asian-American YA writers tackle cliches in new books

Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi (above) wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo , The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao , American Panda.
Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi (above) wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo , The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao , American Panda.PHOTOS: AARON RICHTER, COURTESY OF GLORIA CHAO, EMMA GOO
Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo (above), The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao , American Panda.
Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo (above), The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao , American Panda.PHOTOS: AARON RICHTER, COURTESY OF GLORIA CHAO, EMMA GOO
Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo , The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao (above), American Panda.
Korean-American Mary H.K. Choi wrote Emergency Contact; Korean-American Maurene Goo , The Way You Make Me Feel; and Taiwanese-American Gloria Chao (above), American Panda.PHOTOS: AARON RICHTER, COURTESY OF GLORIA CHAO, EMMA GOO
Emergency Contact
Emergency Contact
The Way You Make Me Feel
The Way You Make Me Feel
American Panda
American Panda

Three new novels for young readers by East Asian-American authors aim to offer fresh insight into their cultures

"Let me guess - you're an overachieving Asian kid who skipped 10 grades?" a new acquaintance tells Korean-American college student Penny Lee in Mary H.K. Choi's young adult (YA) novel Emergency Contact. "Are you secretly 12 years old and a freshman in college?"

Such stereotypes might once have pervaded YA fiction without readers batting an eyelid. But a new slew of novels for young readers by East Asian-American authors this year is making progress on dismantling them.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2018, with the headline 'Cracking down on cliches'. Print Edition | Subscribe