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Celebrations of the Lunar New Year

By Yumna Iqbal, Nadia Shah and Michelle Ye


The Lunar New Year was celebrated by multiple Asian communities earlier this month, launching the world into the Year of the Dragon. While official celebrations have ended, the spirit of the Lunar New Year can be found at any time in the books below. Whether you want to hold on to the excitement or prepare for next year, these books will fulfil all your Lunar New Year wishes. 


Fiction


Daughters of the New Year by E.M. Tran


Daughters of the New Year by E.M. Tran is a captivating debut that weaves through five generations of Vietnamese mothers and daughters, unveiling their fates through the lens of Vietnamese zodiac astrology. Set in present-day New Orleans, the story revolves around Xuan Trung, a former beauty queen and refugee, as she attempts to decipher her daughters' destinies. Tran interlaces the contemporary struggles of Trac, Nhi, and Trieu with ancestral secrets, revealing a haunting family history. The novel is an exploration of empowerment and survival.


Romance 


Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho


Lauren Ho’s debut novel, Last Tang Standing, is a lighthearted exploration of vulnerability and having the courage to pursue your happiness. The novel follows Andrea Tang, who has achieved a practically perfect life at thirty-three. Andrea is surrounded by supportive friends and has a stable career as a lawyer. But as the Lunar New Year rolls around and the Tang family comes together, all eyes are on Andrea – specifically on her nonexistent marriage. Although Andrea knows her life is complete without a man, she’s willing to give practically perfect Eric Deng a chance for her family. And yet, her office rival, Suresh Aditparan, keeps appearing in her life and carves a new path that Andrea can’t help but follow. 


Young Adult


Red String Theory by Lauren Kung Jessen 


Orbiting the connection between string artist Rooney Gao and NASA engineer Jack Liu, Lauren Kung Jessen combines the exciting new beginnings of the Lunar New Year with the quiet certainty of fated love. Rooney Gao is a romantic; she knows the red string of fate from Chinese legend connects her to her true love. Her faith, materialised through red string art, pushes her into Jack Liu’s path for one night as the Lunar New Year begins in New York. But their meeting was always meant to be temporary for Jack, a staunch denier of fate. That is until fate brings them together months later, and the two must admit their relationship is more than a momentary meteor. 


When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao


This fantasy romance novel explores two teens, Liya and Kai, as they restart Liya’s grandmother’s tradition: covertly granting wishes to people who write them on to lanterns and send them into the sky. Best friends since they were young, Liya and Kai have not spoken since an embarrassing incident sparked a huge misunderstanding between the pair. Yet, as Liya resumes her grandmother’s tradition of boosting sales in her family's store, Kai immediately comes to her aid. As they embark on their quest to fulfil their wishes, feelings start to arise, feelings that are impossible to ignore. Can their wishes come true?


The Year of Cecily by Lisa Lin


In The Year of Cecily by Lisa Lin, San Francisco attorney Cecily Chang undergoes a transformative Lunar New Year visit to Brooklyn, confronting her past and battling family dynamics. Facing her former flame, Jeffrey Lee, Lin crafts a tale of love, regret, and second chances. The novel beautifully captures familial bonds, self-discovery, and the potential for a Hollywood-style happy ending – an engaging and heartwarming read.




Children’s


The Night Before Lunar New Year by Natasha Wing and Lingfeng Ho, illustrated by Amy Wummer


Part of the Night Before series, this book aims to educate children on the festive traditions that commence for the Lunar New Year. The night before the Lunar New Year, one little girl eagerly awaits the next day's celebrations. She has her clothes ready, prepared scrumptious dumplings with her mum, and successfully scared away the beast Nian (with help from her cousin and brother). However, one fear she needs to overcome is the loud noises that hail from the people celebrating the Lunar New Year parade. All she has to do is overcome her fear of a perfect Lunar New Year, but will she manage it?


Tét Together by Alice Trinh


A great introduction to Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebrations, Têt Together introduces readers to the special traditions associated with the event. As the most important Vietnamese cultural holiday, the time is filled with preparation and celebration. Têt is a time of reflection as families say goodbye to the past year and welcome the new one through abundant beautiful decorations and delicious food.


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