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13 Books by Filipino Authors You Should Be Reading

by  | March 9
Book on couch

Today, it’s our pleasure to welcome author Tif Marcelo to Get Lit to recommend a few of her favorite books by Filipino authors! Her new novel Once Upon a Sunset, out now, is a delightful story of a woman who uses a sabbatical from her successful medical career to visit the Philippines to reconnect with her long-lost family, a trip that could just change her life forever. Thanks for joining us, Tif!

As a Filipino-American who, from a young age, found solace and a second home in our public library, I yearned to see representation of Filipino diaspora on the shelves. Now, as an author myself, I especially seek out other Filipino writers to read and share with others. Here are thirteen books from Filipino authors right off my bookshelf to grace your TBRs. They give a taste of the talent among Filipino authors, and some of our rich culture. Your heart is sure to expand as you read them, and you may possibly find your next favorite author among them.

Trashed

Trashed

by Mia Hopkins

A diverse romance, the second in the Eastside Brewery series, is told from anti-hero Eddie Rosas’s point of view. Eddie is trying to reclaim his life and find his father after being released from prison. Although he attempts to live under the radar, he’s pulled to the surface by the independent chef Carmen Centeno, as well as his old crew, who mean to bring him back to the fray. An emotional read with ample sexy times, this book asks the evergreen question: Can people change?

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Boracay Vows

Boracay Vows

by Maida Malby

The first in the Carpe Diem Chronicles, this fun multicultural romance takes place in Boracay, Philippines, where Krista Lopez’s very last expectation on her week-long vacation is to fall for her American boss, who’s staying at the same resort. A light, enjoyable read, and the happily ever after is sweet and satisfying.

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Faker

Faker

by Sarah Smith

A debut, this enemies-to-lovers romance brings together Emmie, a headstrong heroine, and an equally formidable coworker, Tate, to work together for a charity construction project. With a sizzling and well-written first kiss, this romance is sure to keep you reading until the last page.

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Natalie Tan's Book of Love and Fortune

Natalie Tan's Book of Love and Fortune

by Roselle Lim

In this debut novel steeped in family drama and magic, Natalie Tan, a chef, returns home to San Francisco after her mother’s death, only to find that she’s inherited her grandmother’s restaurant. There, she’s challenged to cook three recipes to help her neighbors and the restaurant and, in doing so, finds her own healing.

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What Kind of Day

What Kind of Day

by Mina V. Esguerra

A romantic novella about chance meetings and starting over, this book explores the giddiness of new love and the bittersweet reality of facing the unknown. As a #romanceclass book, it’s set in the Philippines with Filipino characters, bringing the authenticity of modern love and life in this island country to the reader.

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Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts

by Jennifer Hillier

The author of the unputdownable Creep series gives us a new dark thriller about pharmaceutical executive Georgina “Geo” Shaw, recently released from prison for her role in the murder of her best friend when they were in high school. With alternating timelines and points of view with investigator and childhood friend Kaiser Brody, Jar of Hearts weaves a chilling tale of secrets, seduction, and fear.

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The Farm

The Farm

by Joanne Ramos

In this richly developed dystopian novel, Jane, a Filipino immigrant, leaves her baby daughter to become a Host at Golden Oaks, a spa-like environment where surrogates are housed. It’s also a place where surrogates are not allowed to leave, and in which their daily lives are controlled. Touching on topics such as social class, motherhood, and money, this superb novel is an excellent choice for your next book club selection.

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In the Country

In the Country

by Mia Alvar

I could not put down this book of short stories. Representing the range of Filipino diaspora across countries, with stories both poignant and sometimes heartbreaking, In the Country speaks to the memories and customs familiar to Filipinos, written in exceptionally honest prose.

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When the Elephants Dance

When the Elephants Dance

by Tess Uriza Holthe

Set in World War II in the Philippines, this book captivated me with its blend of magic, the tragedy of war, and the strength of community. While the fight for possession of Manila during the Japanese occupation occurs above ground, the Karangalan family and their neighbors hunker down in a cellar for safety, telling each other tales that enable them to survive, tales that could teach all of us much about the power of hope.

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The House That Lou Built

The House That Lou Built

by Mae Respicio

Now I’m switching gears to a few of my favorite children’s books—which by no means should keep adults from reading! Ambitious Lou Bulosan-Nelson intends to build a home for her extended family, and along the way she discovers the meaning of home. We could all learn a lot from Lou’s tenacity in this middle-grade book, which should be read by all ages.

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Everlasting Nora

Everlasting Nora

by Marie Miranda Cruz

Brave Nora embarks on a journey to find her missing mother in a shantytown in Manila’s North Cemetery. With beautiful prose, Everlasting Nora will sweep you away with the precious joys in its characters’ lives. This middle-grade book will speak to children and adults alike for its messages of hope and community.

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Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe

by Erin Entrada Kelly

The 2018 Newbery-winning middle-grade book, Hello, Universe explores the unlikely friendship of four very different children. When one falls into trouble, the other three embark on an epic adventure to help, and along the way learn more about themselves and others. This book encourages empathy and cooperation—and we can never have enough of that!

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Something in Between

Something in Between

by Melissa de la Cruz

In Something in Between, Jasmine de los Santos, on the cusp of adulthood, finds out that her family is undocumented and now has to decide how to face this new reality. This young adult book is only one of the many written by powerhouse bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, but this one is special (in my opinion) because it speaks to the straddled identity of many Filipinos.

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Once Upon a Sunset

Once Upon a Sunset

by Tif Marcelo

Want to learn more about Tif Marcelo’s new novel Once Upon a Sunset? See why Get Lit's Nicole choose it as one of her Most Anticipated Releases for March:

I always eagerly anticipate books featuring POC leads, and that is one of several reasons I’m excited for Tif Marcelo’s Once Upon a Sunset. It’s the story of a D.C. physician named Diana who, through a series of unexpected and unfortunate life circumstances, finds herself with lots of free time. Rather than wallow, Diana attempts to restore some order to her life and, in the process, she and her mother, Margo, discover old letters that lead them to uncover a family secret and surviving relatives in the Philippines. Diana decides to take the trip to the other side of the world, and learns more there about herself, her family, and life in ways that she could never have expected. Tif Marcelo is known for writing about complex family dynamics, and I’m eager to see how that plays out here, especially with the added layer of Filipino culture woven in.

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Tif Marcelo is a veteran army nurse and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She is also the author of The Key to Happily Ever After and the Journey to the Heart series.