13 Latinx Books Published This Year That Everyone Should Read

You Have the Right to Remain Fat credit: Virgie Tovar / Facebook

The literary scene in 2018 was filled with Latina writers of all ages and backgrounds putting out the work that reminds you why they’re fiercely talented. The books featured on this list include some of the most acclaimed and beloved releases of 2018 by newbie and established escritoras. Whether you’re looking to discover your new favorite author or book or you’re looking for the best of the best, this list is for all the book nerds out there who can’t wait to get lost in a good book.

“Fruit of the Drunken Tree” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

In the national bestseller “Fruit of the Drunken Tree”, Ingrid Rojas Contrerars examines the terror and violence inflicted on Colombia in the 1990s by Pablo Escobar from the perspective of two young girls. Seven-year-old Chula lives a sheltered life in a gated community in Bogotá while her new maid teenager Petrona hails from the guerrilla-occupied slums. Alternating between their individual narratives and own coming of age experiences shines a light this unlikely friendship and the secrets therein. This is Contreras’ debut novel and it’s inspired by her own life and received love from readers and critics alike.

Buy it here.

“The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo

No list would be complete without Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut young adult novel “The Poet X.” Written in verse, the story centers around Afro-Latina Xiomara growing up in Harlem and the struggle to pursue her desires while living in a strict religious household. An award-winning slam poet herself, Acevedo’s gift shines brightly through Xiomara’s poetry and gives this story a sense of raw honesty and emotional complexity about finding your own strength. It’s a National Book Award winner in Young People’s Literature so it’s clear why it’s on this list. Learn more about Acevedo on our list of Dominican readers you should know.

Buy it here.

“After the Winter” by Guadalupe Nettel

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Our ????✨ final book club of the year ✨???? will take place one week from today on Tuesday, December 4th at 7PM. Join us! #litsyndicate Claudio is a haughty Cuban expat with a misanthropic streak and an outsized sense of entitlement to boot. Though he's carved out a comfortable existence in New York City, Claudio dreams of his perfectly matched companion, a woman of refined taste and impeccable manners. Cecilia is a pensive Mexican grad student and a recent transplant to Paris. Braced by aloof Parisian manners and the winter's bitter cold, Cecilia is driven into seclusion until she embarks on an intense romantic friendship with her next-door neighbor, Tom. After Tom suddenly departs for a trip of indeterminate length, Cecilia finds herself at sea, incapable of coping with the her obsessive yearning. Here Claudio and Cecilia cross paths, producing a fascinating glimpse into the narratives people encrypt on one another in moments of loneliness and desperation. Beautifully evocative of place, After the Winter vaults from Oaxaca to Cuba to New York City to Paris, lingering at last in Père Lachaise. At once devastating and redolent of the delicate pleasures that make life worth living, After the Winter is a subtle and profound novel filled with unforgettable characters and motifs. #guadalupenettel #afterthewinter

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Guadalupe Nettel’s exploration of loneliness in the city is also a story about how we make connections. The first person narratives alternate between Claudio, a Cuban expat in New York and Cecilia, a Mexican expat in Paris. Cecilia is a shy, literature student who shares a fascination for watching funerals near her apartment with her sickly neighbor. Meanwhile, Claudio lives with the submissive and wealthy Ruth who gives into his every desire and tolerates his misogynistic ways. While visiting a friend, Claudio meets Cecilia and they embark on a transformative relationship where Nettel dives into what love looks like between two flawed individuals. Nettel lives in Mexico City and is considered one of the most important Latin American writers of her generation. This book is a translation of  “Después del invierno” released in 2014.

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“Sexographies” by Gabriela Wiener

Peruvian journalist  Gabriela Wiener’s collection of stories of her foray into the risqué in “Sexographies” explores the carnal while also delving into bigger issues including gender politics, motherhood, and sexuality. The openly polyamorous Wiener discusses going to a swingers party with her husband, participating in a dominatrix demonstration, and even profiles a Peruvian sex guru and his six wives. From an ayahuasca ceremony to prostitution to squirting (yes, she goes there), Weiner dives right in and provides meditations and musings on the messiness and kinky aspects of life with passion and candor. Weiner is the former editor of the Spanish version of Marie Claire and this is her first book-length work to be translated into English.

Buy it here.

“Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA” by Iris Morales

This relevant and timely collection features a variety of women reflecting on their struggles and experiences as mujeres fighting for social change. The contributions are both poetry and prose from educators, artists, activists, journalists, and writers engaged in their communities. They touch on how their gender affects their lives but also the inequalities within race, immigration status, and social status. But beyond the ugly truths, there’s also a hope for a better future and a love of sisterhood that will leave you with a sense of empowerment.

Buy it here.

“Love War Stories” by Ivelisse Rodriguez

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Happy book birthday to Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez! @aracien11 ????????????This is an incredible debut collection of short stories that will hit you right in the feels. • Synopsis: 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. • This collection does an incredible job of portraying the complex threads of love that can run through our lives and the different forms they can take. Not all of the stories have happy endings but each one contains a kernal that readers will recognize in themselves or the women around them. It is a powerful collection and was a great read ❤️I highly recommend it if you are looking for a collection that will shake you, make you smile and make you think. . . . #Books #bookstagram #vscocam #vsco #bookworm #leyendo #weneesdiversebooks #vscobooks #bookish #booklove #instabooks #latinx #bookphotography #unitedbookstagram #latinxreads #shortstories #bibliophile #booksofinstagram #read #lovewarstories #vscobook #reader #igreads #igbooks #latinasleyendo #bookstagramer #latina #libros #leer

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The acclaimed “Love War Stories” by Ivelisse Rodriguez is all about young girls and the ideas they’re raised with about love and their battles with traditional expectations. The intersection between the ideals they’re brought up with and their own desires in real life are where the love wars live. The collection documents the struggles between generations caught up in their own traditions of love that younger generations inevitably rebel against. Rodriguez deftly speaks to these sentiments and provides a variety of perspectives on the subject of love mainly involving Puerto Rican women but speaking to Latinx women. It’s a real reflection on what it’s like to battle with the idea of love among different generations in Latinx culture. Learn more about Rodriguez on our list of books by Puerto Ricans you should read.

Buy it here.

“The Fall of Innocence” by Jenny Torres Sanchez

“The Fall of Innocence” is perhaps unsurprisingly about the long-term effects of childhood trauma. In the book by Jenny Torres Sanchez, readers are introduced to sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus as she attempts to move on from the trauma she experienced eight years ago near her elementary school. The book follows her attempt to survive though not necessarily cope with the attack until it’s once again at the forefront when a discovery is revealed about her attacker. Faced with a past she’s fought to forget all these years, Emilia is forced to confront how her trauma has affected her and her family. The grim ending may not be what some readers may expect or want but Sanchez received acclaim for her authentic exploration into the lifelong effects of sexual violence in childhood.

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“Blanca & Roja” By Anna-Marie McLemore

“Blanca & Roja” by Anna-Marie McLemore is a Latinx spin on “Swan Lake” with McLemore’s now signature touch of magical realism. The del Cisne sisters are like any other siblings in that they are bonded by love but also torn by rivalry. They know that either can succumb to the family curse that will leave one of them in the body of a swan. Things get even more complicated with two local boys get involved and their fates are intertwined. It’s a story about love, sisterhood, and friendship told by a skilled storyteller who knows how to take fantastical stories and make them feel real. Learn more about McLemore on our list of Mexican and Chicana writers you should know about.

Buy it here.

“The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary” by NoNieqa Ramos

YA writer NoNieqa Ramos was an educator for 14 years and her experience with kids like Macy, the protagonist of “The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary” is what inspired her to write this unique book. The story is told in a series of vignettes that resemble a dictionary, where Macy tells her story by breaking down why she is the way she is. In school, she’s been deemed “disturbed” and at home, she’s dealing with a promiscuous mom, a brother in Child Protective Services, and a dad in prison. It’s an honest and at times hilarious look into the mind of a 15-year-old girl.

Buy it here.

“All the Stars Denied” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Guadalupe Garcia McCall takes on the first mass deportation that affected thousands of Mexican-American citizens during the Great Depression in “All the Stars Denied”. The story follows Estrella and her family who own Rancho Las Moras in Texas and face resentment among white farmers who post “No Mexicans Allowed” signs. During a protest against this treatment, Estrella’s family becomes a target for repatriation (regardless of citizenship) and she suddenly finds herself across the border separated from half her family. This is a story about an event from the past with eerie resemblance to present day.

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“Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream” by Julissa Arce

This young adult memoir from social justice advocate and national bestselling author Julissa Arce tells the story of growing up undocumented in Texas while still trying to achieve the American Dream. Arce was born in Taxco, Mexico and as a child, he was brought to the US by her parents where she grew up to become a scholarship recipient and honors college grad. She eventually works her way up to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs all while undocumented. This is YA version of her original and equally powerful memoir “My (Underground) American Dream” published in 2017. It’s a story of survival, about dreaming big, and about a very difficult reality for many young adults like Arce.

Buy it here.

“You Have the Right to Remain Fat,” by Virgie Tovar

“You Have the Right to Remain Fat,” by Virgie Tovar has been hailed as a “manifesto for the fat revolution” for its protest of the diet and skinny body type culture. After twenty years of dieting Tovar is over the sense of guilt and the pressure to conform to a certain body image. Here she talks about her “Ultra Mega Badass Fat Babe Lifestyle“ and addresses Fatphobia writing that it’s “a bigoted ideology that positions fat people as inferior and as objects of hatred and derision. Because of the way fat people are positioned in our culture, people learn to fear becoming fat.” Mic drop.  Learn more about fatphobia by checking out our interview with Tovar.

Buy it here.

 “Broken Beautiful Hearts,” by Kami Garcia

New York Times-bestselling author Kami Garcia”s YA romance novel “Broken Beautiful Hearts” is exactly the blend of drama and love you expect from a romantic lit book. The story follows Peyton Rios, a star athlete whose dream of attending college are shattered when she falls down a flight of stairs. The question is did someone push her? Before the fall she’d learned her boyfriend’s dark secret which left her heartbroken. While on the mend in Tennessee she meets and falls for Owen Law but soon discovers he too has a secret and she has to decide if their love is worth fighting for. The book received love from critics and readers alike for its captivating and real depiction of teenage love.

Buy it here.

Read: 13 Hot and Heavy Romance Novels By Latinas Made for Cuffing Season

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