Latinx Book Bingo Reading Recommendations
September 15-October 15 of each year is National Hispanic Heritage Month and this year booktubers and bloggers Paola (@Mancerelle), Allie (@alliembooks) and Sofia (@SofiainBookland) have come up with the incredible idea of celebrating by hosting the first Latinx Book Bingo! According to the official Latinx Book Bingo twitter which you can find here the Latinx Book Bingo’s aim is “to read as many Latinx books as you can, guided by the prompts on the bingo board. You can try to get a bingo (read all prompts on a single line or row), but it’s not necessary, we just hope you read some latinx reads during this month.”
The Latinx Book Bingo not only encourages to read more Latinx authors and main characters but also encourages you to read a broader representation of main characters and genres which is something Latinas Leyendo can get 100% behind.
We’ve come up with a list of a couple of titles that we recommend for each category (as always if you see a book that you would like to recommend that you don’t see below, please feel free to share in the comments section!) Our list includes a brief plot description and links to reviews on this blog whenever they are available. Some titles can fit into multiple categories e.g. SF/F and Bi main character). In the interest of not making this post too long we’ve only listed the title under one category but we’ve included the alternative categories next to each title so you can choose which every category works with your bingo board. Happy Reading!
Bisexual Main Character
Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova (Also SF/F)
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.
Cup of water under my bed Daisy Hernandez (Also Non-fiction)
A heartfelt exploration of family, identity, and language, A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ultimately a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.
Give It To Me by Ana Castillo
In this wildly entertaining and sexy novel, Castillo creates a memorable character with a flare for fashion, a longing for family, and a penchant for adventure. Give It to Me is "Sex in the City" for a Chicana babe who's looking for love in all the wrong places.
MC W/Mental Illness
Not your perfect Mexican Daughter Erika L. Sánchez
Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
The Same Blood M. Azmitia (Also Poetry)
Twin sisters Elena and Marianella couldn't be more different. Marianella goes out of her way to actively participate in their Puerto Rican culture, whereas Elena is embarrassed by their traditions. Marianella is also fighting a very private battle with mental illness, and takes her own life not long after their fifteenth birthday. As Elena mourns her sister, she tries to live her life without the limitations and rules Marianella set for her. When her life spirals out of control, Elena realizes the depth of her roots and the guilt of not helping her sister before it was too late.
Extracting the Stone of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik (Also Poetry)
Revered by the likes of Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolano, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972 comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence. In her own words, she was drawn to "the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleeting presence of Lautréamont,” as well as to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering.
On Cover Representation
Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1) by Daniel José Older (Also SF/F)
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra's near-comatose abuelo begins to say "Lo siento" over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep.... Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago (Also Non-fiction)
Esmeralda Santiago's story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture.
The Education of Margot Sánchez by Lilliam Rivera
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.
The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres
Graciela Rodriguez is determined to break her engagement to Ciudad Real’s most eligible bachelor—even if it means ruining her reputation. Vicente Aguirre has been hired by Graciela’s aunt to keep her wayward niece from damaging the family name along with her future. When her charms prove irresistible, will he fall for the infamous Miss Rodriguez?
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano Sonia Manzano
There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo? her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who's come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa (Also F/F relationship)
Anzaldua is a rebellious and willful talent who recognizes that life on the border, "life in the shadows," is vital territory for both literature and civilization. Venting her anger on all oppressors of people who are culturally or sexually different, the author has produced a powerful document that belongs in all collections with emphasis on Hispanic American or feminist issues.
¡Cuéntamelo! Oral Histories by LGBT Latino Immigrants by Juliana Delgado Lopera (Also Immigration/Refugee)
¡Cuéntamelo! Oral Histories by LGBT Latino Immigrants. ¡Cuéntamelo! began as a cover story for SF Weekly, and, eventually in 2014 with local grant support, Juliana Delgado Lopera was able to publish a limited first edition of 300. Aunt Lute is pleased to bring this title back into circulation. In addition to beautiful black and white drawings of the contributors by artist Laura Cerón Melo, this edition features a number of candid earlier photographs of several of the contributors, as well as a new introduction from Juliana.
La India María: Mexploitation and the Films of María Elena Velasco Seraina Rohrer
La India María—a humble and stubborn indigenous Mexican woman—is one of the most popular characters of the Mexican stage, television, and film. Created and portrayed by María Elena Velasco, La India María has delighted audiences since the late 1960s with slapstick humor that slyly critiques discrimination and the powerful. At the same time, however, many critics have derided the iconic figure as a racist depiction of a negative stereotype and dismissed the India María films as exploitation cinema unworthy of serious attention. By contrast, La India María builds a convincing case for María Elena Velasco as an artist whose work as a director and producer—rare for women in Mexican cinema—has been widely and unjustly overlooked.
Classic Latinx Author
The Book of Emma Reyes by Emma Reyes, Daniel Alarcón (Translation)
This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nine years after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, and translated and introduced by acclaimed Peruvian-American writer Daniel Alarcon, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing.
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator)
A classic of Mexican modern literature about a haunted village. As one enters Juan Rulfo's legendary novel, one follows a dusty road to a town of death. Time shifts from one consciousness to another in a hypnotic flow of dreams, desires, and memories, a world of ghosts dominated by the figure of Pedro Páramo - lover, overlord, murderer.
Yo-Yo Boing! by Giannina Braschi
This iconic Spanglish novel by the leading Hispanic-American poet Giannina Braschi was heralded by the New York Daily News as "an in your face assertion of the vitality of Latino culture in the U.S." Jean Franco of Columbia University praised Braschi for her "extraordinary virtuosity, her command of many different registers, her dizzying ability to switch between English and Spanish. It is also a very funny novel, a novel of argumentative conversations that cover food, movies, literature, art, the academy, sex, memory, and everyday life. It is a book that should be performed as well as read.
Me,Who Dove into the Heart of the World: A Novel Sabina Berman
Karen Nieto passed her earliest years as a feral child, left alone to wander the vast beach property near her family's failing tuna cannery. But when her aunt Isabelle comes to Mexico to take over the family business, she discovers a real girl amidst the squalor. So begins a miraculous journey for autistic savant Karen, who finds freedom not only in the love and patient instruction of her aunt but eventually at the bottom of the ocean swimming among the creatures of the sea.
The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park Marie Unanue
When Phatty decides he is tired of being a scaredy-cat, he jumps into a laundry bag and escapes to Central Park to stop Crawler the bully hawk once and for all. But his unplanned operation goes horribly wrong when he finds himself alone and lost in the park. When his best friend, Payaso, realizes his partner in crime is missing, he teams up with several animals to find Phatty. As the band of furry pals set out on a hilarious journey, they quickly realize that if they put aside their differences and work together, it might just be enough to save a lovable undercat—and each other.
Marcelo in the Real World Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world." There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm.
Afro Latinx MC
Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo (Also Cover Rep and Poetry)
Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda (Also non-fiction)
In 2009, when Raquel Cepeda almost lost her estranged father to heart disease, she was terrified she’d never know the truth about her ancestry. Every time she looked in the mirror, Cepeda saw a mystery—a tapestry of races and ethnicities that came together in an ambiguous mix. With time running out, she decided to embark on an archaeological dig of sorts by using the science of ancestral DNA testing to excavate everything she could about her genetic history
The Autobiography of María Elena Moyano: The Life and Death of a Peruvian Activist edited by by Diana M. Tupac
Using María Elena Moyano’s own words, the editor of this poignant story has re-created the voice of the martyred Peruvian activist. In 1992, at age 33, Moyano was assassinated by guerrillas of the revolutionary movement Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). Her murder--a warning to others in the women’s movement--galvanized the Peruvian people against Sendero Luminoso and its leader, Abimael Guzmán Reynosa.
In the Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature, Pre-Columbian to the Present by Miguel Leon-Portilla and Earl Shorris
In the Language of Kings is a gemstone of cultural strength for those who trace their ancestry to Mesoamerica, as well as an essential resource for historians and anthropologists. Above all, it is literature: intimate, grand, painful, proud, and finally renascent in the new awakening of the original peoples of Mesoamerica.
Message to Chileans Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpan (Also Non-fiction)
With the distinct voice of his People--the Mapuche, People of the Earth, through poems, folktales, and legends Elicura Chihuailaf tries to establish the bases for a serious and friendly conversation with Chileans; a conversation about the plight of his People, about the way to heal the wounds of the past, and redress present injustices. He assumes, correctly, that Chileans are misinformed about the Mapuche, and in his book he tells about his childhood, and about the beliefs, religious ceremonies, and customs of his People.
The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems by Natalia Toledo (Author), Clare Sullivan (Translator) (Also Poetry)
Natalia Toledo's The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems, with an award-winning translation by Clare Sullivan, describes contemporary Isthmus Zapotec life in lush, sensual detail. In Toledo's poems of love and loss the world's population turns into fish, death is a cricket, and naked women are made of wet magma. The Black Flower won the Nezhualcóyotl Prize, Mexico's highest honor for indigenous-language literature, in 2004.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.
Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages – one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (Also SF/F)
When Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone's explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Love War stories (The Belindas) by Ivelisse Rodriguez
Puerto Rican girls are brought up to want one thing: true love. Yet they are raised by women whose lives are marked by broken promises, grief, and betrayal. While some believe that they’ll be the ones to finally make it work, others swear not to repeat cycles of violence. This collection documents how these “love wars” break out across generations as individuals find themselves caught in the crosshairs of romance, expectations, and community
Corazón by Yesika Salgado
Corazón is a love story. It is about the constant hunger for love. It is about feeding that hunger with another person and finding that sometimes it isn’t enough. Salgado creates a world in which the heart can live anywhere; her fat brown body, her parents home country, a lover, a toothbrush, a mango, or a song. It is a celebration of heartache, of how it can ruin us, but most importantly how we always survive it and return to ourselves whole.
Seeing Red by Lina Meruane
Lucina, a young Chilean writer, has moved to New York to pursue an academic career. While at a party one night, something that her doctors had long warned might happen finally occurs: her eyes haemorrhage. Within minutes, blood floods her vision, reducing her sight to sketched outlines and tones of grey, rendering her all but blind. As she begins to adjust to a very different life, those who love her begin to adjust to a very different woman - one who is angry, raw, funny, sinister, sexual and dizzyingly alive.
The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Carlos Fuentes
The intimate life of artist Frida Kahlo is wonderfully revealed in the illustrated journal she kept during her last 10 years. This passionate and at times surprising record contains the artist's thoughts, poems, and dreams; many reflecting her stormy relationship with her husband, artist Diego Rivera, along with 70 mesmerising watercolour illustrations. The text entries in brightly coloured inks make the journal as captivating to look at as it is to read. Her writing reveals the artist's political sensibilities, recollections of her childhood, and her enormous courage in the face of more than thirty-five operations to correct injuries she had sustained in an accident at the age of eighteen.
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends -- at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.
The Pink Box by Yesenia Montilla
“The Pink Box has been waiting for us. It has been waiting for our ears to see these poems, for our eyes to listen to them. Yesenia Montilla's poems cross fertilize space and time; linking the wilderness, the city, and an otherworld like a subway ride from uptown to downtown, cross town and back. Along the way, we don't just switch trains, we switch stations of desire: the Dominican Republic is the blues, Ayiti/Haiti is jazz, hip hop is abuelita. New York City begins on Hispaniola. Is it longing we hear? Or is it the crash of one island against another? Yes, there is yearning in these poems; for touch, for visibility, for a tongue not forgotten though not spoken, for bachata and merengue. And there is spirit; something unseen, called forth, like Dominican Gaga rooted in the bateyes, the sugar cane fields, of memory. Not only does Yesenia Montilla make a weaving of magic in these remarkable and tender poems, magic is its own holiness here.” --Alexis De Veaux, author Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde & Yabo
Sad Girl Poems by Christopher Soto
Christopher Soto (aka Loma) is a queer latin@ punk poet & prison abolitionist. Their first chapbook “Sad Girl Poems” delves into their relationship with domestic violence, queer youth homelessness, & the suicide of a close friend. Of the chapbook, Eileen Myles wrote "Sad Girl Poems are revolutionary and sad and finely wrought on the fly… I keep reading, needing to be living in the world of them.” CAConrad wrote “You are an asshole if you read this book and are not destroyed and renewed and see through the poet Loma a way to redemption for us all.” Christopher Soto is originally from the Los Angeles area but now lives in Brooklyn
500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario
Nic Chen refuses to spend her senior year branded as the girl who cheated on her charismatic and lovable boyfriend. To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates, Nic begins writing their college admissions essays. But the more essays Nic writes for other people, the less sure she becomes of herself, the kind of person she is, and whether her moral compass even points north anymore.
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.
So Far From God by Ana Castillo
Sofia and her fated daughters, Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, and la Loca, endure hardship and enjoy love in the sleepy New Mexico hamlet of Tome, a town teeming with marvels where the comic and the horrific, the real and the supernatural, reside.
When the Moon was Ours Ann Marie Maclemore
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Take The Lead by Alexis Daria
Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He's handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.
His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras
Ad executive Tomas Garcia shouldn't even be thinking about his daughter's alluring dance teacher, Yazmine Fernandez. Burned by a shattering divorce, he's laser-focused on his career and giving his young daughter, Maria, the secure home she deserves. Plus, he's certain that with her talent, Yaz will be leaving Chicago and heading back to Broadway as soon as she can. But Yaz's generous spirit and caring concern are sparking a desire Tomas can't resist and doesn't want to let go . . .
Stripped by Zoey Castile
The day Robyn Flores meets Zac Fallon is one of those days. You know, when you’re already late for work. Mostly because you haven’t really slept since your best friend abandoned you for her fiancé and her exponentially better life. The kind of day you drag yourself to the cleaners to pick up your laundry, only to discover you’ve got the wrong bag—Star Spangled sequined thong, anyone? So Robyn is definitely not ready for the ridiculously gorgeous guy at her front door, except that they have each other’s clothes. But then, is any woman ever ready to meet the love of her life?
Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister's newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula's bruja healing powers can't fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.Then a bus crash turns Lula's world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn't the only one who's been brought back...
The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott, Illustrated by Robin Robinson (Illustrator)
The first decade of the twentieth century is coming to a close, and San Francisco is still recovering from the great earthquake of 1906. Isabel watched the destruction safely from her window, sheltered within her high-society world. Isabel isn't the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when she stumbles through the invisible barrier that separates the human world from the fairy world. She quickly finds herself caught up in an age-old war and fighting on the side of the Seelie — the good fairies.
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz (Also Magical Realism)
Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile in the past year. Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is in a coma. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings. Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.
Chulito by Charles Rice-González
Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-out, coming-of-age love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop–loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters in his vibrant neighborhood. Chulito, which means "cutie," is one of the boys, and everyone in his neighborhood has seen him grow up—the owner of the local bodega, the Lees from the Chinese restaurant, his buddies from the corner, and all of his neighbors and friends, including Carlos, who was Chulito's best friend until they hit puberty and people started calling Carlos a pato . . . a faggot.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benajmin Alire Saénz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
Mundo Cruel: Stories by Luis Negrón
Luis Negrón’s debut collection reveals the intimate world of a small community in Puerto Rico joined together by its transgressive sexuality. The writing straddles the shifting line between pure, unadorned storytelling and satire, exploring the sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking nature of survival in a decidedly cruel world.
Sirena Selena by Mayra Santos
Discovered by Martha Divine in the backstreets of San Juan, picking over garbage, drugged out of his mind and singing boleros that transfix the listener, a fifteen year old hustler is transformed into Sirena Selena, a diva whose uncanny beauty and irrisistable voice will be their ticket to fame and fortune. Auditioning for one of the luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic, Selena casts her spell over Hugo Graubel, one of the hotel's rich investors. Graubel is a powerful man in the Republic, married with children. Silena, determined to escape the poverty and abuse s/he suffered as a child, engages Graubel in a long seduction in this mordant, intensely lyrical tragi-comedy - part masque, part cabaret - about identity (class, race, gender) and "the hunger and desire to be other things."
The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis
February 1913: seventeen-year-old Leda, carrying only a small trunk and her father’s cherished violin, leaves her Italian village for a new home, and a new husband, in Argentina. Arriving in Buenos Aires, she discovers that he has been killed, but she remains: living in a tenement, without friends or family, on the brink of destitution. Still, she is seduced by the music that underscores life in the city: tango, born from lower-class immigrant voices, now the illicit, scandalous dance of brothels and cabarets. Leda eventually acts on a long-held desire to master the violin, knowing that she can never play in public as a woman. She cuts off her hair, binds her breasts, and becomes “Dante,” a young man who joins a troupe of tango musicians bent on conquering the salons of high society. Now, gradually, the lines between Leda and Dante begin to blur, and feelings that she has long kept suppressed reveal themselves, jeopardizing not only her musical career, but her life.
What Night Brings by Carla Trujillo
Marci Cruz wants God to do two things: change her into a boy, and get rid of her father. What Night Brings is the unforgettable story of Marci's struggle to find and maintain her identity against all odds - a perilous home life, an incomprehensible Church, and a largely indifferent world. Winner of the Miguel Marmol prize focusing on human rights, the Paterson Fiction Prize, the Latino Literary Foundation Latino Book Award, the Bronze Medal from Foreword Magazine, and Honorable Mention for the Gustavus Meyers Books Award. Also shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award.