Happy Latinx Heritage Month! Join me September 15th through October 15th as I celebrate Latinx authors with a post every Sunday in my series, Talk Chisme to Me. You can also enter my Twitter giveaway in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. Simply head on over here. If you missed any of my previous posts, I’ve linked them below:
Talk Chisme to Me, Part I: The TBR
Talk Chisme to Me, Part II: Favorite Books By Latinx Authors I Read This Past Year
Talk Chisme to Me, Part III: New & Upcoming Releases
Talk Chisme to Me, Part IV: Biggest Influencers
For this week’s post, I am sharing ten backlist books that I discovered this year and have added to my TBR. These are books by Latinx authors that haven’t gotten a lot of hype, but I am hoping you add a few of these to your own TBR. I’m also adding a couple of 2019 releases that I don’t think have gotten a lot of attention. Covers are linked to Goodreads.
Under the Radar Books Added to the TBR:
1. Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador
“Sixteen-year-old Martha and her mother move constantly, never staying anywhere for long. So she knows better than to ask if they’ve been evicted again when her mom says they’re going on a “vacation” to meet the grandmother Martha didn’t know existed.
Laredo, Texas, is like no other city she has seen. Driving past businesses with Spanish names and colorfully painted houses with burnt lawns, Martha can’t imagine her mother living somewhere so … Mexican. At her grandmother’s pink house, she’s shocked and hurt when her mom abandons her, even though a part of her had been expecting it.
Suddenly Martha must deal with a way of life that is completely foreign. Her grandmother doesn’t speak English, so communication is difficult, and she’s not the typical, sweet grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even weirder, it turns out that her grandmother is revered as a healer, or curandera. And there are tons of cousins, aunts and uncles all ready to embrace her!
At her new school, Martha can’t be anonymous like before because everyone knows she’s Doña González’s granddaughter. Meanwhile, a girl who has it out for her makes things unpleasant. As Martha struggles to adjust to her new life, she can’t help but wonder why her mother left Laredo. No one is willing to discuss it, so she’ll have to unravel the secret herself.”
2. All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
“In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.”
3. Halsey Street by Naima Coster
“A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong—not only to a place but to one another.
Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.
When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she’s found a semblance of family—and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.
An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.”
4. Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of Keepers by V. Castro
“‘Word started to get around there was a new enforcer in town. No one knew if she was a demon or an angel, perhaps a mythical mix of both. Maybe the woman in the black hat was one of the old gods that wandered this land before the lash of the cross was introduced. The only thing anyone knew was that no human could run from their devious deeds if Maria and her fist caught you in their sights.’ -Maria The Wanted
Maria is a wanted woman. She’s wanted by an Aztec trafficker, a cartel boss, the people she fights for, and now the devil she can’t resist.
Her journey begins as a would-be immigrant turned vampire, until the injustices of the world turn her into something else. She’s not just out for blood, she wants answers.”
5. Westwood Monster Patrol by Andrea Beatriz Arango
“What would YOU do if you found a dismembered hand in the woods behind your house?
Ash, Talib, Josefina, Marimar, and Alejandro are pretty used to the not-so-great aspects of life at the Westwood Trailer Park. What they’re not used to is having dead bodies pop up so close to home. Although they’re each dealing with their own complicated problems, they put these aside in order to track down a grisly killer. As the teens delve deeper into a world of haunting visions, bibliomancy, poke tattoos, and even a demon, they are forced to contend with a reality that may be a bit wilder than they anticipated. When one of their own is taken, will they manage to pull together their makeshift crime team and save the day?”
6. Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy
“Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer–and life as she knows it–is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.
Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.
But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and–to everyone’s surprise–Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?”
7. Other: A Collection of Poetry For the Lovelorn Outcast by Elizabeth Reyes-Duiguid
“OTHER is a collection of poems that tackles topics such as love, loneliness, and fear. It’s for when you’re feeling ignored, small, set aside or otherwise outcasted. It’s for when you need reminding that you are not alone.
In this collection, Elizabeth Reyes-Diuguid shares decade old experiences and celebrates, and honors those emotional moments in the past that lead to success, love, and joy like she couldn’t imagine when these pieces were written. Now her words plant a seed of hope for the reader that they too can go from moments of sorrow to true joy. A lot can change in a decade. “
8. Plastic Wings by C.T. Callahan
“When seven-year-old Evie Weiss discovers a strange, sickly boy in her otherwise familiar forest, she has no idea what it holds for her world. He is a dark angel, one of a race of humanoid beings that feed on humanity and tear Evie’s world down around her. Years later, as humanity mounts a counter-attack against the dark angels, Evie remembers the boy in the forest and finds herself torn between her loyalty to her own people and feelings of compassion for these strange creatures that first captivated her as a child. It is the quest of one girl to unite two worlds so separated by war, but how can she close the gap between two races so determined to hate each other?”
9. The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel
“Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.”
10. Seventh Born by Monica Sanz
“Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.
The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.”
Have you heard of any of these books? Any of these pique your interest? Which under the radar books by Latinx authors have you added to your TBR recently? Let’s discuss in the comments.