My 5 Favorite YA Books by Latinx Authors | Latinx Heritage Month 2019

YA books by Latinx authors

Hi everyone! Since it’s Latinx Heritage Month, I thought a great way to celebrate was talking about some of my favorite book by Latinx authors. This is the first post of  the series and since I read so many YA books I decided to start with those.

Don't Date Rosa Santos

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (YA CONTEMPORARY)

It’s not often that a book breaks my heart and makes me sob, but this book managed to do just that. This book has beautiful writing, complex but lovable characters, a community that’s like a huge family, but the most special thing about it is the brilliant and bittersweet way it explores the feelings of a granddaughter of immgrants: the feelings of confusion and guilt for belonging to two places at onces, for speaking biligual words, for not knowing exactly where she comes from and what happened to the family that stayed behind.

we set the dark on fire

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (YA FANTASY)

This book captured my heart with two beautifully complex main characters, a forbidden love story, fascinating mythology, an infuriating world and a flawed but commited rebelious group. This bookfeels Latinx, it IS unapologetically Latinx and it has the respectful and wonderful Latinx representation that we need in fantasy. Beyond all those amazing things, the strengh of this book lays in the way it addresses immigration, privilege, poverty and opression, because it manages to evoke so many emotions and be incredibly thought provoking.

juliet-takes-a-breath

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (YA CONTEMPORARY)

This book holds a very special place in my heart, it was one of the first YA books with a Latinx main character that I ever read and I fell completely in love with it.  This book has amazing writing, complex, messy and vulnerable characters, it talks about feminism and about being queer in a thought-provoking way, and it shows the different perspectives that exist in these broader movements and the importance of intersectionality. This book is insighful and provocative and I think it’s incredible important for teens, because it’s a great introduction to femenist and queer ideas.

when-the-moon-was-ours

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA MAGICAL REALISM) 

This book is magical, mysterious and captivating and it’s probably my favorite magical realism book of all time and a book I’d recommend to anyone that wants to start reading this genre. This book has beautiful, flowery and poetic writing, an intriguing plot, an alluring atmosphere and complex and fascinating villains. It’s has a dark and dangerous vibe that underlies the story and that makes the reader feel unease and worry and that adds a compelling and engrossing element to the book.

labyrinth-lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (YA URBAN FANTASY) 

Witches, fairies, an all latinx cast of characters and great bisexual rep … there was no way I wasn’t gonna love this one. The mythology and magic in this book are rooted in Latinx traditions and beliefs in such big and profund way that it can’t be confused with anything else but a love letter to Latinx magic and that’s the most amazing thing about this book. Another great thing about it is that the unveiling of Los Lagos, the magical world where part of this book takes place, is done in such a slow and delibareted way that you can’t help but be completely captivated by it.

Have you read any of this books? Do you want to read any of them? What YA books by Latinx author do you love? 
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Thoughts & Aesthetics: Nocturna by Maya Montayne

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Title: Nocturna

Author: Maya Motayne

Published by: Balzer +Bray

Publishing date: May 7th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 480

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

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Nocturna is an entertaining book that, while not having the most original plot and characters, feels unique in some ways thanks to the incorporation of Latinx culture and Spanish language in its world and magic system.

The main characters of Nocturna, Alfie and Finn, are both interesting in their own ways and that’s due to how they are impacted by their pasts in different but very powerful ways and how that affects the plot of the story. Alfie is a cinamon roll type of character that, at the same time, it’s a mess and makes a lot of mistakes, and throught his character, Montayne explores the ways in which grief can cause a person to be a mess, make the wrong choices and screw everything up.

On the other hand, Finn’s character is compelling because she uses a facade of being tough and heartless as a way to hold on to some control after having experienced a situation in which she was manipulated and controlled by someone else. Her development, her vulnerability and her contradictions throughout the book are not only escencial to the plot, they also give an emotional backbone to the story.

The dymanic between these characters is really entertaining and the snarky comments and the banter are fun to read, but there are also these tentative moments when they are vulnerable and honest with each other and they are so tender and beautiful. At the end, the development of their relationship is captivating and touching.

In terms of the villain, it’s interesting that this book has two villains in one and seeing the struggle for power and for control within the villain is interesting because the struggles between these two villain are not caused by one trying to stop the other from doing evil things, it’s about setting priorities for what evil things to do first and that adds a compelling element to the story.

The most magical thing about this book is the way it embraces Latinx culture and the way it uses Spanish as the language of magic in this world. Maybe it’s because there’s not that many YA fantasy books that do this, but the fact that those things are incorporated it felt special and meaningful. Another aspect of the book that it’s interesting is the way it addresses colonialism and slavery through the history of its world, and how it’s done in a very organically and subtle way.

Lastly, the main issue of this book is the pacing because it’s really uneven, so there are long bits in the book where characters are talking or thinking or planning and then some action would take place but inmediately after there would be another long strech where not a lot would happen. That constant start and stop of the action didn’t allow the book to flow as well as it could have.

Overall, while not being extremely original and having some issues with pacing, Nocturna does a great job of seamlessly incorporating Latinx culture and spanish to the story in a beautiful and meaningful way, and it does a good job too of including discussions about colonialims and slavery in a interesting, toughtful and organic way.

Have you read this book? Do you have recommendations of fantasy books inspired by different cultures? 

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100 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo| Latinx Heritage Month 2019

Hi everyone! Today I bring you a post I have been working on for a long time and I’m super excited to finally share it with you. In this post, there are recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo 2019, which I’m hosting again this year.  Before getting into the recs, here are some things you should know about them:

  • In each category, the recommendations are organized depending on age group: First, you’ll find YA books, then Middle Grade books and finally Adult books.
  • Click on the title and it will take you to the Goodreads page for the book.
  • I haven’t read every book on this list, but I read #ownvoices reviews for almost every single one of them to make sure the Latinx rep was good. Nonetheless, if you know the rep in one of the books is not good, please let me know!
  • Next to the title and author, there’s a parentheses (), in which I added information like the genre of the books and the kind of rep they have, so you could know if it works for more than one square.
  • If you can’t find a book that intests you and fits one of the categories on this list and need more options, here’s the list I made for the bingo last year: 90 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there!

With that out of the way, here are the recommendations:

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Any book by a Latinx author
Intersectional main character (mc)
Afrolatinx main character
On Cover Representation
Fat Representation 
Backlist Title
Non-Traditional format
Recommended by a Latinx Reader  (My recs for you!)
Non Fiction
Are you participating in the Latinx Book Bingo? Are you reading any of the books on this list? or have you read already any of the books on this list? Let me know!
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Latinx Book Bingo Announcement | Latinx Heritage Month 2019

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to share that the Latinx Book Bingo is officially coming back for a second edition this year! 🎉🎉🎉

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The Latinx book bingo will take place from September 15 to October 15, which is Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 (or how we are choosing to called it: Latinx Heritage Month). The bingo is being hosted by Paola (@Mancerelle), Allie (@Alliewithbooks) and myself (@SofiainBookland) just like last year and the purpose of it is to highlight books about latinx characters and written by latinx authors.

The aim of the bingo is to read as many Latinx books as you can, guided by the prompts on the bingo board.  You can also try to get a bingo (read all prompts on a single line or row — you can read horizontally, vertically, and diagonally), but it’s not necessary, we just hope you read some latinx reads during this month.

I want to quickly explain that we always want to promote intersectional stories, so the square that says intersectional MC prompts you to read a book where the main character is Latinx AND is part of the LGBTQIA community or has a mental illness or is neurodivergent or disabled. Something similar happens with the square that says fat rep, it means read a book with a character that it’s both Latinx and fat.

The Grief KeeperThe main difference between last year and this year is that we have a group book, which is The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante, and the amazing thing is that we are reading this book as part of a month long readalong organized by the hosts of the Latinx Book Club (which I’m part of as well), the Latinxathon and us, the host of the Latinx Book Bingo. For this we are using the hashtag #LatinxLitTakeover.  I couldn’t be more excited that we all decided to read this book together as a way to start or further conversations about immigration (which is one of the main themes of the book) considering everything that’s happening right now and how it’s affecting thousands of immigrants.

We are planning some amazing things through the @LatinxBookBingo Twitter account, so follow us to get recommendations of Latinx reads,  to find some lovely Latinx bookish people since we are doing shout outs throughout the month and to participate in the giveaway we are hosting. You can use the #LatinxBookBingo hashtag for all your related tweets and posts. I will be posting a tbr and a recommendation list in the next couple of weeks in case you need help setting up your tbr.

I hope you can join us! If you have any comments or questions, please let them in the comments! 

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Latinx Book Club | Announcement + Our First Book Club Pick!

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Hi everyone! If you follow me on Twitter or if you are a part of the bookish community on Twitter, you may have heard about the Latinx Book Club, which I am co-hosting with 5 lovely Latinx bloggers and booktubers. We started this project at the beginning of March and we already have over a 1000 followers on the Twitter account!!! The response has been amazing and I’m so happy to be a part of this project.

But let’s back up a little bit! The Latinx Book Club is – obviously a book club – meant to highlight and boost Latinx authors and Latinx books. Each month, we are voting to choose one book by a Latinx author that we will read together and then discuss it in a twitter chat. The books can be YA or Middle Grade and they can be from any genre. 

The other hosts of the book club are Cande (@Latinx Magic+ @iamrainbou), Jocelyn (@Yogi With a Book + @joceraptor ), Alicia (@A Kernel of Nonsense + @booknonsense), Dani (@ Metamorphoreader + Metamorphodani) and Carolina (@Santana Reads + @Santanareads)

You can find all the info for the book club on the Twitter and Instagram accounts. Also, if you are interested in finding out about Latinx books being release or great Latinx books with amazing rep, you should follow the twitter account!

About a week ago, we put up a poll on Twitter for people to vote and help us choose our April book pick and the results are in! We are so excited to read and talk about this book with everyone that decides to participate!

Without further ado, here is our first book club pick:

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The Storm Runner is a Middle-Grade Fantasy book with a disabled Latinx main character and it’s full of Maya mythology. Also, it’s one of the Rick Riordan Presents books!

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Trigger warnings: internalized ableism and use of ableist language

“Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno — for his one good leg. What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. 

A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in — unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?

Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.”

Are you joining the Latinx Book Club? Are you excited with out first book club pick? Have you read The Storm Runner before? 

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Latinx Book Bingo Wrap Up: Books I Read During Hispanic Heritage Month

latinx book bingo

Hi guys! This post is a bit late, it’s my first post in a while because my life completely changed (in a good way!) about a month ago and just now I’m starting to get the time and energy to get back into blogging and reading.

The Latinx Book Bingo took place from September 15th to October 15th, the first week of the readathon everything was going great, but then I moved from Colombia to Spain on September 23rd and I had so much to do and I was so jet lagged, that reading wasn’t my priority. Honestly, I wanted to read so much more than the 7 books I ended up reading, but I’m still so happy because I read some incredible books and so many people participated in the readathon and  we got to highlight amazing latinx authors and books. 

Now, without further ado, here are the books I read for the Latinx Book Bingo:

Peluda by Melissa Lozada- Oliva (3,5 stars) 

I really liked the ways in which this short poetry collection makes visible the relationship between femininity, body hair, the immigrant experience and Latina identity. This themes really resonated with me. This didn’t get a higher rating because the poetry style wasn’t my favorite, I felt like sometime the message got a bit lost in the writing choices.

My Wicked Wicked Ways by Sandra Cisnero (3,5 stars) 

I liked the poetry style in this collection, but I felt like the poems were a bit incohesive and the way some of the themes were explored didn’t resonate with me that much. I actually found this collection not to be memorable.

America Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera (4 stars) 

I really like the art style and the characters in this comic, I liked the diversity and the representation, but I do feel like the world building and the storyline were very choppy. Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun reading this, I’ll keep reading it and I would totally recommend it.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (4 stars)

It took me a bit of time to get used to the main character in this book, Zuri, she was extremely judgmental and sometimes plain rude. But she changed as the book went on, not completely, but enough to let me enjoy the story. I liked the relationship between Zuri and Darius, with their banter and bickering, but I feel like there were some conflicts between them at the end that were solved too easily or just abandoned. Nonetheless, the reason why I ended up really liking this book and my favorite part of this book was the way it dicussed gentrification and class. I think inlcuding these subjects added to the original story and made it more relevant to our time. I also loved the representation of a Haitian-Dominican family, in terms of the religion, the food and the family dynamics.

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes (4 stars)

This book features one of my favorite tropes, which is fake dating, Analee’s relationship with Seb was so entertaining and they had a lot of chemestry. On the other hand, I thought there was gonna be a lot more of Analee’s online life in the book and that Harris (her internet friend/crush) was gonna show up a lot more. Nonetheless, I was pleasently surprise by the fact that even when those relationships were important to the story, the real focus was family. I loved the way Analee learned to accept, appreaciate and love the people she had in her life.  Watching Analee’s relationship with her dad, her stepmom and stepsister become stronger and more honest was amazing. Another thing I really liked was seeing Analee’s Cuban culture highlighted, as well as the way her social anxiety and low self-esteem were handled.

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (4 stars)

This book is set in New York City and not in some other realm like the first book, so it felt a little less magical, but there were a lot of new and interesting elements in terms of the worldbuilding, which I really liked. We were introduced to hunters, vampires, new brujas, casimuertos (similar to zombies) and even the goddess of death made an apperance. I really loved the main character, Lula, she was going through so much and she was struggling with her mental health, but she was resilient, strong and she grew so much in this book and learned to love herself again, and I couldn’t help but root for her. Also, with this series, family is such an important part and I love the portrait of uncondicional love and sisterhood.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-García (3,4 stars)

I found the mythology in this book fascinating because there were different species and subspecies of vampires that came from all around the world and had there own histories, powers and apperances. Nonetheless, I didn’t found the main two characters interesting at all, one of them actually annoyed me quite a bit and I would have liked the book to focus on some of the secondary characters. Also, there was a lot of action and violence in this book, a lot of explicit content when it comes to injuries and death, which it’s not my thing.

The Final Results

final results

 

I didn’t get a bingo, but I think I did an okay job. I read books that counted towards 9 of the squares and I’m happy with that!

 

 

 

 

If you participated in the Latinx Book Bingo and you posted wrap up posts, leave me a link because I would love to check them out! If you have read any of these books, let me know your thoughts, so we can chat about them!  

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My TBR for the Latinx Book Bingo

latinx book bingo

There’s only one week left before the #LatinxBookBingo begins! I’m so excited to be one of the hosts of this readathon and I’m incredibly happy with the response that we have gotten so far from so many people in the book community. If you want to participate, but need recs for your tbr, here’s a list I made with 90 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo. Also, if you’re participating, remember to follow the official twitter account @latinxbookbingo

Now, here’s my tbr:

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova – Sci-fi/Fantasy with a Latinx Main Character

When all her classmates, including her boyfriend Maks, die in a bus crash, Lula tries to bring Maks back with her healing power, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous and it turns out, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.

I really liked the first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, so I’m excited to continue on, even if this follows a different main character. #ownvoices Latinx rep

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera – Latinx Main Character with Mental Illness

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio get a call letting them know they’re going to die that day, then they meet through an app called the Last Friend for a last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

I’m honestly ashamed to say that I haven’t read an Adam Silvera book, but all his books have been in my tbr for a long time and this is the perfect opportunity to finally read one of them! #ownvoices Puerto Rican rep & #ownvoices anxiety and OCD rep. Also, there’s Cuban-American rep. 

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa – On Cover Representation 

Fitness trainer Tori Alvarez goes on vacation and she vows to keep it a man-free zone, but then she meets a guy on the plane, who turns out to be actor Carter Stone. She doesn’t recognize him because he underwent a physical transformation for a movie, he’s  looking to get back in shape and Tori agrees to help him without knowing who he is.

I have heard nothing but great things about this book and since I’m a huge fan of romance books, I really wanted to include a romance with a latinx main character on my tbr. #ownvoices Puerto Rican Rep

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by  Ingrid Rojas Contreras – Historical Fiction 

Set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990’s Colombia, this is the story of a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both. 

I found out about this book a few months ago and since I’m Colombian, I immediately added it to my most anticipated books of 2018 list. I can’t wait to see what Ingrid those with this story! #ownvoice Colombian rep

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes – Contemporary/Romance 

Since her mother passed away, Analee Echevarria spends her time role playing in an online game where she meets a boy she likes but she isn’t able to tell him. At the same time, in real life, a popular boy asks her to be his fake girlfriend and he starts to coax her out of her comfort zone. 

I have an arc of this and I’m extremely excited to finally read it!  This comes out September 18th and it sounds like a perfect YA Contemporary read. #ownvoices Cuban-American rep

La Casa de los Espíritus (The House of the Spirits) by Isabel Allende – Magical Realism

This book tells the story of Patriarch Esteban, whose desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

Isabel Allende is my favorite Latinx author and I have read several of her books, but I have owned The House of the Spirits, her most recognized novel, for over a year and I still havent read it. BUT now it’s defintely the moment to finally read it! #ownvoices Chilean rep

 Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva – Poetry 

The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. 

I just found out while writing this that while Melissa’s mother is from Guatemala, her dad is Colombian. Now, I’m even more excited to read it! #ownvoices latinx poetry

Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) by Ernesto Che Guevara – Non Fiction 

The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary. 

I’m gonna be honest, this is the only book on this list that I chose especially to get a bingo. I wasn’t planning on reading this one, but since it’s short and it’s non fiction, it fit the requirements that I had. #ownvoices argentine rep

Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Gabriel García Márquez – Classic Latinx Author 

This book tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love. 

I tried to read this book when I was 14 years old, almost 10 years ago, and honestly I got really confused and I DNFed it. After that, I have never tried agan until now. This is the most famous colombian novel of all time, it won a nobel prize for literature, and as a colombian, I feel a bit bad about not having read it. #ownvoices Colombian rep

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea – Free Space

The entire De La Cruz clan gathers for the final birthday party that the Patriarch, Big Angel, is throwing for himself, as he nears the end of his struggle with cancer.  When Big Angel’s mother, Mama America, dies herself, he must plan her funeral as well. Among the attendants is his half-brother, Little Angel, who comes face to face with the siblings with whom he shared a father but not a life. 

Another 2018 release, I’m so excited to be reading! This sounds so interesting and I have heard the writing is beautiful. #ownvoices Mexican-American rep

Now, let’s check how many bingos I’m getting….

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If I read all the books on this TBR,  I get 2 bingos! And I’m missing only 1 book for my third bingo, so after reading all these books, I’ll defintely try to find a book with a Latinx Bisexual main character to read.

 

 

 

Are you participating in the Latinx Book Bingo? What are you reading for it? If you made a tbr post, leave me a link in the comments! 

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