I planned to post this one on Sunday but decided to wait a couple of days to not distract from real-world issues happening right now. Please remember white and non-Black PoC that just because you are now waking up to what it happening in the Black community doesn’t mean that that they have not already been dealing with police brutality for generations. Your comfort is not more important, you having a “safe place” from real-world events is a sign of your privileged and you need to learn when to speak up and when, frankly, to keep your mouth closed. If I sound testy, it’s because I’ve been really appalled by some of the things I have seen in this community. It is not surprising but I am getting tired of the seeing so many asked to be coddled during this time. This isn’t about you. Take a step back and figure out where you stand and then act. There are several ways that you can help right now and I will be listing links where you can financially contribute and add your voice to petitions.
Split your donation between organizations (Black Lives Matter, National Bail Out, etc) here.
Updated Twitter thread of specific bail funds, relief funds, and organizations that are still accepting donations here.
Twitter thread of mutual aid funds that you can donate to here.
Twitter thread of Goggle Docs that include petitions you can sign and calls you can make here.
Another way to help if you aren’t able to contribute money is to give this video a watch/let it run in the background (let it run all the way though, don’t skip ads), the ad revenue will be donated to Black Lives Matter organizations.
I started these posts with the intention of highlighting upcoming books by Latinx authors that need more attention during this pandemic, but I might just keep doing them every month from here on out. As always, if you are able, please buy these from your local indie bookstore (here is a list of Black-owned book stores that you should check out) or check them out from your library (if it’s been reopened). And I am always on the lookout for more books by Latinx authors to read and promote, from middle grade to adult. If there is a book that I don’t mention, please share them with me in the comments. Graphics are linked to Goodreads.
1. The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Córdova
Why I Am Excited? I am such a fan of Zoraida Córdova’s novels and I cannot wait to see what she does with her first middle grade novel. Also, I love books that focus on sibling connections.
“For fans of The Land of Stories comes an adventure that reveals the secret warnings hidden inside all classic tales — beware fairyland at all costs.
Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde believes in magic. He knows that pixie dust is real, that wardrobes act as portals, and that rabbit holes lead to Wonderland. Most of all, he believes that his older sister, Pili, is waiting for him somewhere in Rio Luna, the enchanted land in their favorite book of fairy tales.
Danny doesn’t care what the adults say. He knows that Pili isn’t another teen runaway. When the siblings were placed in separate foster homes, she promised that she’d come back for him, and they’d build a new life together in Rio Luna.
Yet as the years pass, Danny’s faith begins to dim. But just when he thinks it might be time to put foolish fairy tales behind him, he finds a mysterious book in the library. It’s a collection of stories that contain hints about how to reach another world. A map to Rio Luna . . . and to Pili.
As his adventure takes him from New York to Ecuador to Brazil, Danny learns that meeting your favorite characters isn’t always a dream come true. But nothing will stop him from finding his sister . . . even if it means standing up to the greatest threat the magical realm has ever known.”
2. Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha
Why am I excited? We do not have enough YA novels that talk about HIV, so I am really looking forward to this one. This is also one of the few novels from a Latin American author that has been translated to English. Here’s hoping we see more of these.
“An absorbing debut novel about three gay young adults in Brazil whose lives become intertwined in the face of HIV, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Bill Konigsberg.
Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.
Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.
Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.
When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has-had-been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.
That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and stigma-a story about hitting what you think is rock bottom, but finding the courage and support to keep moving forward.
Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go.”
3. Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Why am I excited? I am always on the lookout for diverse horror novels and I am really curious to see what Dávila Cardinal does with the sequel to Five Midnights.
“Category Five is a new supernatural thriller from Ann Dávila Cardinal, set against the backdrop of a post-hurricane Puerto Rico
After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.
The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matter worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.
Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.”
Why am I excited? I full admit that I have not picked up this fun middle grade series yet, but with the third book coming out, it is the perfect time to binge read them.
“Magdalys’s connection with the dinosaurs has led the US Army to some important victories, but the Civil War’s not over yet and the squad finds itself fighting deep in the Louisiana bayou. Then General Ulysses S. Grant himself entrusts Magdalys with a top secret mission — one that the very success of the Union depends on. Because as the friends will soon find out, the United States has more than one enemy.
Imperial troops are gathering along the Mexican border, forming an alliance with the Confederates in pursuit of spreading slavery, and suddenly the Union is facing battles on two fronts. But they are barely holding their own against one army. How can they possibly defeat two?
As New Orleans is surrounded, and desperate battle plans laid, Magdalys and her friends set off to disrupt a scheme that would destroy everything she cares about. But to do it, she’ll have to push her dinowrangling skills further than she’s ever been able to before. Can Magdalys defeat the fiercest rival she’s ever faced and save the fractured nation?”
5. Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster
Why am I excited? Latinx authors of middle grade books are thriving this year and I am so excited to welcome this debut author and her enchanting sounding adventure.
“On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.
Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin…the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village’s terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.”
6. On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez
Why am I excited? I have been thinking about this book for months and I cannot wait to read some more middle grade magical realism novels.
“Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother’s disappearance.
Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school–like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva’s mom doesn’t come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by ICE? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can’t let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They’ll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back.
Minerva’s plan falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva’s audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she’ll be prepared to face life’s challenges–with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.”
7. The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre
Why am I excited? I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this one and it is just as sweet as it sounds. You can read my thoughts on this one here.
“Twelve-year-old Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From startup companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.
So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother José will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her Mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!
After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare.
Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.”
8. Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz
Why am I excited? I really wish we had had these Latinx books around growing up because I would have loved to have followed Julieta on these amazing adventures.
“From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Merci Suarez in this smart young middle-grade mystery about a diamond gone missing from the Louvre and the sweet and spunky girl who cracks the case.
Nine-year-old Julieta is finally about to put a purple pin in her family’s world traveling map! She’s off to Paris to help her art-handler dad collect pieces for a new exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Sadly, they must leave Julieta’s very pregnant mother behind, but they’re sure they’ll be back before the baby is born. Julieta sees the best of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur, and plenty of great art. But things go awry when she and Dad walk in on a thief stealing the Louvre’s most prized piece–a priceless cursed diamond with a shady history. When Julieta runs for help, she accidentally frees the thief instead! Now Dad’s job is in danger and he’s become a suspect. Can Julieta determine who the thief really is before it’s too late?”
9. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Why I Am Excited? Did you know I am a fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia? Trick question because if you know me, you know this. I feel so lucky to have been sent an ARC of this one from the publisher and it really was a dream come true to see the incomparable SMG write a horror novel. I loved this one so much and can’t wait to share my thoughts. Review for this one coming very soon.
“From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.
He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.”
Which of these are you most excited for? Have you preordered any of these? Any releases by Latinx authors in June I might have missed?