Would it even be my blog if I didn’t include a YA specific rec list??
Below you will find 14 YA books written by Latinx authors some of which I’ve recced before and some that are new to the blog. I’ve also included a few books that are coming out in the next month or so to look forward to/preorder (don’t worry I also have a preorder rec list coming 👀).
These are all books on my TBR that I’ve heard great things about from the community and from readers whose bookish opinions I trust, but as always when it comes to books I’m featuring that I haven’t read please don’t hesitate to let me know if a book shouldn’t be included in this list for some reason or if there’s some content warnings I should add!
Check out my Book List on Bookshop to find all my Latinx book recs for Latinx Heritage Month in one place!
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In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university. But her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
This book has been on my TBR since before it came out last year and I’m still excited between the second chance romance elements and the choosing between family expectations and pressures and your own dreams and despite being super unathletic myself I do like a good sporty story.
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From
Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted. But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.
Everything about this book sounds so good and heartwrenching and like a great exploration of identity and the things people, especially teens, will do to fit in even at the expense of their happiness.
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña have no false illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Though their families–both biological and found–create a warm community for them, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the three teens know they have no choice but to run: for the border, for the hope of freedom, and for their very lives. Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico with their eyes on the U.S. border, they follow the route of La Bestia, a system of trains that promise the hope of freedom–if they are lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and the desperation that courses through their very veins, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know that there’s no turning back, dangerous though the road ahead might be.
Before you pick up this book please check out the CW on goodreads and whatnot because it definitely isn’t a light story (in case that’s somehow what you were expecting from the description) but it’s so important and all of the reviews lead me to believe that the author approached it with the care it deserves to tell this story.
Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins
Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career. Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?
POP STARS FAKE DATING BRITISH ACTOR like take all my money okay thanks
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate in the background. But this summer, Moon also takes a job on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen. Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.
I added this book to my TBR because of CW @ The Quiet Pond (if you’re not following the pond, what are you even doing like ??? top tier recs and content all around seriously) and ever since her review I’ve seen more people discovering and loving this book so I can’t wait to pick it up!
Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.
I hear such great things about both of these authors so both of them teaming up to write this story of a pageant and best friends and self-love is just *chef’s kiss*
Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that’s what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat. But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about. As her college decision looms, Rosa collides – literally – with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?
Don’t look at me with this book that has been on my TBR forever and I still haven’t read, I’ll get to it eventually I’ll promise!! But seriously this book still sounds so good and right up my alley in terms of what I look for in YA
When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez
Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.
Elizabeth Acevedo introduced me to YA novels told in verse that I loved and I’ve now been dying to find more that will give me the same feeling and this book sounds like it will hit that vibe!
Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen. His best friend JD has plans, too. He’s going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He’s got a camera and he’s got passion—what else could he need? But there some things you just can’t plan for…Like letters from a man named Mando on death row. Like finding out this man could be the father your mother said was dead. Soon Juan and JD are embarking on a Thelma and Louise–like road trip to visit Mando.
Listen we all know I’m a sucker for angst ridden stories about teens figuring out their futures and if there’s super complicated family dynamics like say no more
Don’t Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd
By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. When a major eSports tournament comes to her city, Emilia is determined to prove herself to the male-dominated gaming community. But her perfectly balanced life is thrown for a loop when a member of a rival team—Jake—recognizes her . . .
Listen I’m not a big gamer, but I love all these stories about girl gamers being badass and changing the game and I just want to read all of them and hope they open the space up for future generations of young girls wanting to game.
Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron Jericho has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. The online trolls think they can drive Divya out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t read this book yet (I know it just came out last year but it feels like it’s been on my TBR forever and I love Eric on the Twitter) but this exploration of online gaming and gatekeeping and trolling and doxxing just has me like 👀
Everything Within and in Between by Nikki Barthelmess
October 5 from HarperTeen
For Ri Fernández’s entire life, she’s been told, “We live in America and we speak English.” Raised by her strict Mexican grandma, Ri has never been allowed to learn Spanish. In her most private thoughts, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when she was young, would accept her exactly how she is. So when Ri finds a secret unanswered letter from her mom begging for a visit, Ri decides to reclaim what her grandma kept from her: a language and a mother. But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn’t who Ri imagined she would be. And Ri’s struggling to navigate the different interweaving threads of her mixed heritage that make her who she is. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri, herself.
I’ve heard great things about this book and all of the reviews so far indicate this book will treat these tough topics of identity and mixed heritage and discovering and claiming your space in the world even as everyone tries to tell you otherwise with the nuance and grace they need.
Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno
October 12 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Luisa Patterson grew up across the street from Sam Alvarez in the small, quirky town of Port Coral. They used to be inseparable, but then middle school happened, including the most disastrous (and embarrassing) serenade ever, and Lou and Sam haven’t talked since. But it’s also the summer before their senior year, and life is knocking on Lou’s door. Torn between the future that her mother, sister, and younger self planned for her, Lou sets out to finish her bucket list, and in a stroke of destiny or fate, Sam decides to tag along. Still trying to stay afloat amid the grief of losing his father, Sam himself is staring down a future that feels all too close, and is coming far too fast. But with the bucket list to guide them, Sam and Lou might just be able to find a way through the future, and also a way back to each other.
As I’ve said before and I’ll say again one of my top tropes is childhood friends to lovers especially if there is some angst or they’re estranged or whatnot. Does this book sound like it might make me cry? Yes. Does it also sound like something I’ll love? Also yes.
Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed
November 2 from Flatiron Books
In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, writers from across the Latinx diaspora (including: Elizabeth Acevedo, Cristina Arreola, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Naima Coster, Natasha Diaz, Kahlil Haywood, Zakiya Jamal, Janel Martinez, Jasminne Mendez, Meg Medina, Mark Oshiro, Julian Randall, Lilliam Rivera, and Ibi Zoboi) interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about this rich and diverse community. From immigration to sexuality, music to language, and more, these personal essays and poems are essential additions to the cultural conversation, sure to inspire hope and spark dialogue.
I didn’t used to read anthologies mainly because I’ve never been a short story person BUT ever since moving to NYC and gaining a subway commute I’ve seen the appeal because I can read a story in that time AND it’s a way to enjoy some of my fave writers while waiting on their next novel AND discover new writers to read and love.
💫 Have you read any of these yet? What YA books by Latinx authors would you recommend?