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Best Books Set in Hawaii

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don't miss the best books set in Hawaii.

Hawaii is a state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only U.S. state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, and the only state geographically located within the tropics.

About Hawaii

Books about Hawaii explore themes like the island's multicultural identity, its unique history, and the deep connection between people and the land.

You'll often find tales of family bonds and cultural heritage, and there's a strong focus on the natural beauty and environmental issues the islands face.

Whether it's historical novels, contemporary fiction, or travelogues, Hawaii's diverse themes make for a rich literary tapestry.

Best Books Set in Hawaii

Daughter of Moloka'i: A Novel
  • Brennert, Alan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Moloka’i and Daughter of Moloka’i

Author: Alan Brennert

The book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a strawberry and grape farm in California, her marriage, and unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II―and then, after the war, to the life-altering day when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is Ruth’s birth mother, Rachel.

Honolulu: A Novel
  • Brennert, Alan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)


Author: Alan Brennert

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Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young “picture bride” who journeys to Hawai'i in 1914 in search of a better life.

Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. 

The Descendants: A Novel
  • Hemmings, Kaui Hart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Descendants

Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners.

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers
  • Ackerman, Sara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers

Author: Sara Ackerman

Violet Iverson and her young daughter, Ella, are piecing their lives together after the disappearance of her husband. As rumors swirl and questions about his loyalties surface, Violet believes Ella knows something. But Ella is stubbornly silent. Something—or someone—has scared her.

East Wind, Rain: A Novel
  • Paul, Caroline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

East Wind, Rain

Author: Caroline Paul

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Gutsy Girl comes this provocative, compelling novel of irrevocable consequences for people thrust unwittingly into a devastating war of nations and American identity—based on a little-known true event.

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December 1941. The inhabitants of Niihau lead a simple life. Mostly Hawaiian natives, they work the ranch of Niihau's eccentric haole owner, who keeps his island totally isolated from the outside world, devoid of cars, phones, and electricity.

Questions to Ask After Reading Books Set in Hawaii

1. What did you learn about Hawaiian culture, history, or the local way of life from this book?

2. How did the Hawaiian setting influence the characters or plot in the story? Can you give specific examples?

3. Did the book make you more interested in visiting Hawaii or learning more about the islands? Why or why not?




Now that you've completed the list of best books set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Books Set in All 50 States.


Click here to download the printable. It has a list of books in all 50 states including the Best Books Set in Hawaii.

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