Hispanic Heritage Month is coming to an end but don’t let that stop you from exposing yourself to books with Hispanic or Latinx representation. It’s important to keep centering historically underrepresented voices in the book industry–after all, book diversity is still an issue in the publishing industry. Without further ado, here are nine incredible books with great Hispanic and Latinx representation!
1. Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez
This first recommendation is a twist on a beloved classic. Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez reignites life and vivacity into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Spanish Harlem is a picture of progress and Willie Bodega is its king. Chino (the Nick of the story) is a young man who grew up to understand that not all things we hold as home and comfort is right. Despite his jaded view on life, he is drawn to Willie Bodega and his extremely idealistic views on life. Through Willie, Chino unravels a story about what it really means to fight against the grain of oppressive societal structures, life and love lost through manipulation and deceit, and reigniting purpose in our communities.
2. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Erika L. Sánchez brings us a story about family secrets and what it means to live up to those familial expectation, or even break them all together. In Julia’s case, she was always the latter but that all changes when her older sister, Olga, tragically passed away. With her sister dead, Julia is left to pick up the shattered pieces after a terrible tragedy. However, Julia struggles. She struggles connecting with her parents who are still reconciling with the fact that they lost a daughter. Olga was the perfect stereotype of a good Mexican daughter but Julia soon discovers that might not have been the case. In I Am Not You Perfect Mexican Daughter, we discover what it means to live up to those gendered expectations and the heaviness that sets soon after tragedy hits.
3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This next book recommendation is a fan favorite. Silvia Moreno-Garcia serves us glamour, secrets, suspense, and the supernatural in Mexican Gothic and it’s all tens in every category. Set in the Mexican countryside in the 1950s, our glamourous heroine, Noemí Taboada, heads to her newly-wed cousin’s rescue after receiving a frantic letter from her. Following delicious gothic tropes, Noemí battles the mysterious mansion, High Place, and uncovers its old history of violence and madness.
4. This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves
This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves is a coming of age and coming out story about Enrique “Quique” Luna, a bisexual high school student dealing with a summer of young love. As a way to get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi, Quique pursues other love interests. But as the summer continues, he begins to realize that his diversion tactics might not have been the best plan in the world. Aceves brings humor, wit, and smartly unravels what it means to be true to yourself through Quique’s tumultuous journey of school boy crushes.
5. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo brings us a story about grief, family, forgiveness, and self-discovery. In Clap When You Land, we follow the stories of two girls in the aftermath of tragedy. In the Dominican Republic, Camino Rios awaits with excitement to spend the summer with her father when he visits but this summer, she arrives at the airport amidst tragedy. And in New York City, Yahairo Rios discovers her beloved father has died in a tragic plan crash. But amidst the tragedy, the two girls are brought together through long hidden secrets where they learn what it means to be a family.
6. Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt brings us a story about the strength of women, mothers, grandmothers, and daughters. Jeanette’s story crosses generations. Struggling with addiction, she attempts to learn more about her estranged mother’s story while also raising the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. To get her answers, Jeanette travels to Cuba where she learns more about secrets from the past.
7. Lobizona by Romina Garber
Lobizona by Romina Garber is a spectacle of fantasy and magic while intelligently weaving current political and social issues that plague the Hispanic and Latinx community. The story follows Manuela “Manu” Azul, an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family. She takes refuge in Miami, Florida but soon, everything goes wrong. Through struggles, Manu learns about her family bloodline and discovers the supernatural history of her life and family.
8. Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
Julia Alvarez is a fan favorite and a personal favorite of mines as well. In her book Afterlife, she brings into question family duty, brokenness, and what it means to be truly authentic. The book follows Antonia Vega, an immigrant writer and retired English college professor. Not only does she have to deal with the aftermath of her husband’s death, her sister mysteriously disappears, and soon after a pregnant and undocumented teenager arrives on her doorstep. Antonia is in deep water and she has to learn quickly how to deal with it.
9. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
Our last book recommendation is by Luis Alberto Urrea. The House of Broken Angels is one of the best novels I’ve read in a while. It’s a meditation on love, life, and the very human experience of daily life. Miguel Angel de La Cruz, “Big Angel,” is the family patriarch and he calls the whole family for one last birthday bash. But tragedy paints the joyous celebration black when Big Angel’s mother dies. Across the span of two days, the whole family celebrates the magnificent lives of Big Angel and his mother through story and lore.
I hope you’ll enjoy the books on this list. Remember to keep centering the voices of underrepresented communities all year long and celebrate their achievements, joys, and sorrows.
For more content about Hispanic and Latinx representation, take a look at this article about nine female Hispanic and Latina heroines that we’re obsessed with!