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My Latinx TBR List: 6 Contemporary Books Everyone Should Read

by  | February 25
books on a shelf

There has been a lot of talk recently about representation in the publishing industry. This subject is very near and dear to my heart as both a native Ecuadorian and an American immigrant. Also, being part of the literary community, I know how important it is to support POC authors, and share their voices with readers all over the world. While I wish I could add a thousand more contemporary books to this Latinx list, here are some recent Latinx fiction and nonfiction titles that you should be reading. (P.S. I also did my best to make this primarily a female list.) 

Happy reading, and start creating your own Latinx TBR list! 

Sabrina & Corina

Sabrina & Corina

by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

The American West sets the stage for the voices of many Latinas of indigenous descent in this haunting short story collection, which was a National Book Award finalist. There is something so moving about the way this book brings out the bonds of friendship, the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and the pain of the past. Denver serves as the backdrop for these stories of powerful women navigating their lives with grace and a quiet presence, and searching for the deep-rooted truths of their homeland.

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Music to My Years

Music to My Years

by Cristela Alonzo

Cristela Alonzo is the first first-generation Mexican-American woman to create, produce, write, and star in her own prime-time sitcom. In her new memoir, Alonzo shares her struggles growing up in Texas, as well as her experiences in the competitive world of comedy, which can often silence new, diverse voices like her own. And this is one bold voice that needs to be heard, and that you’re definitely going to want to put at the top of your TBR list. Ingeniously, each of Cristela’s stories relates to a song, resulting in a resonant soundtrack that courses through every page. With such a fun blend of music and language, I’d definitely recommend the audiobook version. If you’re looking for a unique, heartbreaking autobiography, this one is for you!

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Dominicana

Dominicana

by Angie Cruz

I love this coming-of-age novel so much! Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never wanted to move to America, let alone marry a man she does not love. But when Juan Ruiz proposes to her, she has no choice but to say yes for the sake of her family—she may one day be able to help her family in the Dominican Republic safely immigrate to the States. It doesn’t matter that she has no positive feelings for her would-be husband, or that he is twice her age; their marriage is too much of an opportunity for Ana to decline. Forced to leave behind her life in the Dominican Republic, Ana struggles to feel at home in 1960s America and in her new Washington Heights apartment in New York City, but when Juan’s younger brother shows her all the opportunities available to her, her world and heart expand—along with more problems.

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A Dream Called Home

A Dream Called Home

by Reyna Grande

If you loved Reyna Grande’s previous memoir, The Distance Between Us, then you’ll enjoy the continuation of her story in her autobiography, A Dream Called Home, new in paperbackGrande relates her journey as a first-generation Latina university student, as well as all the complications and barriers that arise due to her past. Determined to create a new life for herself, Grande applies to, and is accepted at, the University of California, Santa Cruz, to pursue a career in creative writing. But even as her dreams seem reachable, Grande struggles to build a home for herself, and to move on from her past, especially given her designated status as an undocumented Mexican immigrant.

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The Book of Lost Saints

The Book of Lost Saints

by Daniel José Older

In this affecting multigenerational novel, bestselling author Daniel José Older creates an evocative portrait of a Cuban-American family. In modern-day New Jersey, Ramón is visited by a phantom of his family’s past, his aunt Marisol, who mysteriously vanished during the Cuban revolution. Haunted by Marisol, Ramón launches his own private investigation into his family’s history, leading him down the road to both love and danger. Focusing on themes such as the fracture of family bonds, the effects of the revolution, and the violent struggle towards freedom, this novel is a thought-provoking read.

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Tender Is the Flesh

Tender Is the Flesh

by Agustina Bazterrica

In this captivating dystopian world, imagined by the prestigious Argentinian novelist and short story writer Agustina Bazterrica, and translated by Sarah Moses, all animals but humans are extinct, leaving society divided between the eaters and the eaten. Exploring the intricacies of the human class system, this novel feels both timely and strangely prescient. While the book's not available until August, the preorder button is ready and waiting for you.

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Photo Credit // istock / Natalia Shabasheva

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Estefania Acquaviva is currently an MFA-Fiction student at Columbia University. She recently graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish Literature, with minors in Creative Writing and Business. Although she was born in Quito, Ecuador, she moved to the United States when she was in second grade. Away from her home country, she began to write stories to blend her Spanish and English lingo. Though she left Ecuador at a relatively early age, she never stopped loving the culture of her roots. The more she read, the more she wanted to share her own writing, book reviews, and book suggestions. You can find more of her work at www.estefania-acquaviva.com.