Chicago Reads: ChiYA Book Babies

Two ChiYA members released their book babies into the world! What a time to be alive!

On January 16, Samira Ahmed released her debut, LOVE HATE & OTHER FILTERS.

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This amazing #ownvoices book tells the story of American-born 17-year-old Maya Aziz, who is torn between worlds: the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter, and the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe pursuing the boy she’s known since grade school, who’s finally falling into her orbit.

There’s also the real world. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, the community Maya’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must determine in which world she truly belongs.

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On January 15, ChiYA members attended a launch party at Anderson’s Bookshop to celebrate the birth of this book baby.  The night was exciting! The event was packed; friends, family, and fans alike turned out to welcome LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS into the world.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the next week, we received the joyous news that LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS debuted on the Young Adult Hardcover New York Times bestseller list! I get the feeling she’s only getting started.


On February 6, Gloria Chao released her debut, AMERICAN PANDA.

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First of all, HOW CUTE IS THIS COVER? I can’t get enough of smiling POC on YA book covers. It makes me so happy and definitely sets the tone for the book.

AMERICAN PANDA is a hilarious, touching #ownvoices book about 17-year-old Mei, a freshman at MIT who is on track to fulfill a future predetermined by her parents: become a doctor, marry a pre-approved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is definitely not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if the secrets are worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

 

Once again, CHiYA headed out to Anderson’s for Gloria’s launch event, and it was super fun. There was cake served on panda plates, sparkling cider, and joy all around. I know this book is deeply personal for Gloria, and I think that makes it all the more special.


And there’s more coming from these brilliant authors!

Samira is under contract for two books: MAD, BAD, & DANGEROUS TO KNOW, a YA thriller told in dueling narratives that weave between past and present, follows a Muslim-American teenager who partners with a descendant of French author Alexandre Dumas to unravel the mystery of a 19th-century Muslim woman who appears in letters between Dumas and Eugene Delacroix (2019), and INTERNMENT, a YA book about a near future in the United States where Muslim Americans are forced into an internment camp and a seventeen-year-old must fight against Islamophobia, oppression, and complicit silence (2019).

Gloria’s next project is MISALIGNED, a YA novel about a teen outcast who is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white Midwestern town (2019).


Interested in meeting the authors in person and getting your book signed? This blog post outlines upcoming events, including a don’t miss one featuring both authors.

I’m so proud to be a member of ChiYA. Stayed tuned. Great things are coming from all of us!


This post is brought to you by Ronni Davis at ChiYAwriters.com.

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