5 Book Recommendations for Latinx Heritage Month
When I was growing up, I thought there wasn’t a place for me in publishing. I never saw Latinx characters in books, let alone ones that were queer, and certainly not trans. While there’s still a huge need for more diverse stories in the world, finally having books that reflected parts of my identity is what made me think I could finally write a book like Cemetery Boys, and people would want to read it.
Latinx books by Latinx writers are so important and have been life-changing for me. With Latinx Heritage Month happening 9/15-10/15, I thought it was only fitting to do a list of Latinx YA books that have a special place in my heart!
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Labyrinth is about a bruja named Alex who tries to get rid of her own magic, but accidentally makes her whole family vanish instead! Reading this first book from The Brooklyn Brujas series was the first time I ever saw my culture reflected in a book. It has a queer main character AND features Latinx-based magic! It showed me that our stories and mythos CAN and SHOULD be told. Zoraida’s books are a big reason why Cemetery Boys exists today. She’s a brilliant fantasy writer and the final book in The Brooklyn Brujas series released on 9/1/20!
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
I found When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore while I was browsing the aisles of Powell’s about three years ago. It was the first book I ever came across with a trans character, and the fact that it was by a Latinx writer and there was magical realism blew my socks off. I bought it IMMEDIATELY. All of AMM’s books are stunning. They have the most beautiful prose and reading their books feels and sounds like a song. They’re unlike anything I’ve ever read before—beautiful, stunning and heart-wrenching.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo is a lyrical artist, and Clap When You Land is just another showcase of her incredible writing. Told in verse, Clap When You Land is told from the perspectives of Yahaira and Camino, two sisters who, after the death of their father, just found out the other exists. This exquisite book touches on themes of secrets, anger and loss. There’s a sapphic relationship, complicated familial relationships, and the way Acevedo weaves Spanish through the narrative adds a depth of soul.
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
I was gifted with an ARC of Each of Us a Desert and I am madly in love with it! It’s about a girl named Xochitl who is a cuentista of her village. She takes the “stories” of the wrongdoings of people in her village, then goes to the desert and releases them to Solis in order to free them. It’s a story about forgiveness, overcoming fear, and love. Mark Oshiro is an absolute poet! Their writing is gorgeous, lyrical and incredibly romantic.
Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
(Yes, AMM is on this list twice!)
This is another book I had the pleasure of reading early! Miss Meteor is about Lita Perez and Chicky Quintanilla, two used-to-be best friends who have joined forces to win the local beauty pageant. This book has incredible messages about loving yourself, finding yourself, and the importance of friendship. On top of all that, it has a wide cast of queer characters! Tehlor and Anna-Marie really outdid themselves with this book and you should absolutely get your hands on it when it releases on 9/22/20!