2018 brought us some amazing new works by Latinx writers, including Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s debut novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Reyna Grande’s memoir A Dream Called Home, and Yesika Salgado’s poetry collections, Corazón and Tesoro. But with everything out there, keeping up with the latest in literature can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss out on worthwhile reads.
Luckily, this guide is here to give you a rundown of some of the Latinx-authored books dropping in 2019 that you’ll want to check out.
Lilliam Rivera, “Dealing in Dreams”
Just before she released her first book, the LA Times called Lilliam Rivera a “Face to Watch,” and boy were they right. The Bronx native began her career as a journalist before writing fiction, and her debut young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez—which was described as “Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx”—received a ton of praise. Her forthcoming book Dealing in Dreams is also a young adult novel. Set in what Rivera calls a “near-future,” the book introduces us to the leader of the girl gang Las Mal Criadas, Nalah, who must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in the name of a better life. Likened to The Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road, Dealing in Dreams is available in March. Until then, a sneak peek can be found here.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina and Corina”
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Slightly updated cover with this gorgeous quote from @officialsandracisneros! Cisneros has been my idol since I first read her work in high school. Years later, I read in ‘A House of My Own’ that the great short story writer, Ann Beattie, gave Cisneros one of her earliest blurbs for her story collection ‘Woman Hollering Creek.’ Ann Beattie gave me my first blurb for S&C, too, and I don’t know what this connection means, but I love it and I deeply respect the tradition of women authors supporting other women writers. I am grateful. . . . . . . #sabrinaandcorina #kalifajardoanstine #annbeattie #sandracisneros #shortstories #fiction #bookstagram #instabook #author #writer #denver #colorado #latinx #chicana #gustavorimada #iwrite #book #womenauthors #womensupportingwomen #bookcover #bibliophile #writerslife #weallgrowlatina #latina #latinas
Fajardo-Anstine’s much-anticipated debut is a short story collection about women we don’t often hear from in literature: Indigenous Latinas from Denver, Colorado. Fajardo-Anstine herself grew up in Denver and explained that this lack of representation was one impetus for her subject matter. These stories of working-class women—from a sex worker to a woman just home from prison—have been hailed by Sandra Cisneros as “stories that blaze like wildfires.” And, in case you need any more reason to check it out, the gorgeous book cover features the work of Mexican-born artist Gustavo Rimada. Sabrina and Corina is available for pre-order and hits shelves on April 2, 2019.
Cherríe Moraga, “Native Country of the Heart”
Writer, educator, and activist Cherríe Moraga is a preeminent voice of queer Latinx feminism. She is perhaps best known for co-editing with Gloria Anzaldúa the foundational text This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (which, if new to you, should be at the top of your reading list). In her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart, Moraga traces her mother’s life in California and Mexico and her eventual memory loss from Alzheimer’s. Moraga connects her own coming-of-age as a Lesbian moving between Mexican and American worlds with her mother’s story in what is described as “a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.” You can find Moraga’s book in April of 2019.
Carmen Maria Machado, “In the Dream House: A Memoir”
Speaking of memoirs, Carmen Maria Machado, whose 2017 debut short story collection Her Body and Other Parties was a finalist for a number of prestigious awards, will release In The Dream House: A Memoir in the second half of 2019. The publisher’s acquisition announcement describes the book as “An extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir about an abusive same-sex relationship in the author’s past, In the Dream House, sees Machado tackle a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, creating an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.” Machado’s style is known for its blending of genres, including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and, given its description, her memoir promises to once again push the boundaries of writing.
Elizabeth Acevedo, “With the Fire on High“
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This has been an emotional ass week and for the first time I saw a copy of WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH. This is the story of Emoni Santiago, a teen mom who wants to be a chef but isn’t sure if following that dream is best for her family. This character arrived to me fully formed and whispering in my ear and on May 7th she will be in the world. To be honest, THE POET X has done so well that I’m scared anything I make after won’t be good enough…but part of being a storyteller and writer is stretching myself to tell new stories and believing in my talent enough not to give into the fear. So, I’m not going to psych myself out of joy and I’m going to trust the instinct that led me to write this in the first place. I can’t wait for you all to read this. ????
A few years ago, AfroLatinx writer and award-winning slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo commanded our attention with “Hair,” a spoken-word piece in which she embraced the beauty and history of natural hair while fighting against the internalization of white beauty standards. Last month, Acevedo won the National Book Award for her debut novel The Poet X, about a teenager named Xiomara growing up in Harlem and finding her voice through slam poetry. The prolific artist now brings us With the Fire on High, the story of Emoni Santiago—gifted cook, high school senior, and mother, and provider. Despite the stress of taking care of her daughter and abuela, Emoni realizes she is happiest while cooking, and that she must make some serious sacrifices to pursue her dreams. Catch this book in May.
Melissa Rivero, “The Affairs of the Falcóns“
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✨GALLEYS ARE HERE✨ Last night, I came home to find this beauty waiting for me ???? I wrote most of this novel on this desk, in a corner of my bedroom, either under the glow of the moon or the waking sun, while my children slept and in the moments I could lend my ear, my heart to the words that seemed to be whispered to me from within and all around, all at once. It’ll start to make its own life now in the world. I’m grateful for the journey it’s taken me on so far and where it/I/we will go from here. Much love to @eccobooks @lynchmeganc @jlkardon ❤️ #bookstagram #novel #novelist #author #debut #debutnovel #debutauthor19
The Affairs of the Falcóns is the debut novel of Peruvian-born Melissa Rivero, who grew up undocumented in Brooklyn. The work of fiction is particularly salient in our current climate, given that it tells us the story of the Ana Falcón and her family, who have left Peru in the midst of political upheaval in search of something better in the U.S. However, now undocumented in America and trying to raise her two children, Ana must decide if it’s better to live their lives in survival mode in New York City or return to the country they worked so hard to escape. The book is described as “a beautiful, deeply urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life, and a vivid rendering of the American immigrant experience.” You can find it in April.
Nina Moreno, “Don’t Date Rosa Santos”
Author Nina Moreno describes herself as a “Southern Bruja,” a fitting title given that the protagonist of her first novel, Rosa Santos, is said to be cursed by the sea. If you date Rosa, you’re in trouble. The book takes us along Rosa’s journey as she grapples not only with this supposed curse, but also her family, college, and the two places that are central to her identity: Florida and Cuba. Moreno’s writing style has been called a blend of “Southern fiction and telenovela,” and Don’t Date Rosa Santos sounds like a refreshing dose of drama and romance. The book arrives on shelves in May, making it the perfect beach (or pool) read.