Talk Chisme to Me: Ten Most Anticipated 2021 Debuts by Latinx Authors

Hope your TBR isn’t too full because today I am bringing you a list of my top ten most anticipated debuts by Latinx authors coming out this year. I am always excited that publishing is giving more opportunities to Latinx authors and though we still have a long way to go, it’s always worth celebrating and uplifting new voices. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

 alt=1. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

    Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
    Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
    Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
    People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
    But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.
      A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

 alt=2. Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

    Jenny Han meets “Jane the Virgin” in this flashy and fun Own Voices romcom from debut author Monica Gomez-Hira.
    Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.
    Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.
      And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.
      If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.

 alt=3. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

    As an aspiring pastry chef, Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican-American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.
    Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself.
    Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong — both within their families and their fiercely loyal Chicanx community — in order to save the place they all call home.

 alt=4. Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

    A timely, moving debut novel about a teen’s efforts to keep his family together while his parents face deportation from the United States.
    There is a word Mateo Garcia and his younger sister Sophie have been taught to fear for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade to the back of their minds. And why wouldn’t it, when their Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors?
    When two ICE agents come asking for Pa, the Garcia family realizes that the lives they’ve built are about to come crumbling down. And when Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken, he must come to terms with the fact that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American teenager in a country that rejects his own mom and dad.
      Daniel Aleman’s Indivisible is a remarkable story — both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.

 alt=5. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

      Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
      When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
      In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

 alt=6. Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

    Fourteen-year-old Iranian-American Parvin Mohammadi sets out to win the ultimate date to homecoming in this heartfelt and outright hilarious debut.
    Parvin has just had her heart broken when she meets the cutest boy at her new high school, Matty Fumero–with an emphasis on fumero, because he might be the smoking hot cure to all of her boy troubles. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to homecoming, she’s positive it will erase all the awful and embarrassing feelings He Who Will Not Be Named left her with after the summer. The only problem is Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself has not worked for her in the past (see aforementioned relationship), she decides that to be the girl who finally gets the guy, she should start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. Those girls aren’t loud, they certainly don’t cackle when they laugh, and they smile much more than they talk. Easy enough, right?
      But as Parvin struggles through her parent-mandated Farsi lessons on the weekends, a budding friendship with a boy she can’t help but be her unfiltered self with, and dealing with the ramifications of the Muslim Ban on her family in Iran, she realizes that being herself might just be the perfect thing after all.

 alt=7. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa 

    A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.
    Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.
      Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.
      Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.
      Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

 alt=8. Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins 

    This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until she’s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.
      Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?
      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?

 alt=9. Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

    Dreaming of You, a genre-bending verse novel in which a young Latinx poet, grappling with loneliness and heartache, brings Tejana pop star Selena Quintanilla back to life through a seance, kicking off an absurd, uncanny trip narrated by a Greek chorus of Chismosas that involves a shadow self, a dead celebrity prom, and karaoke in hell; a macabre, moving love story and interrogation of Latinx identity, womanhood, obsession and disillusion, and what it truly means to be seen.

 alt=10. An Island Without You by Malulani Moreno

    A heartfelt and thrilling YA novel about two boys struggling to find their place amidst a tragedy that rocks their community in Hawai’i
      When Keoni’;s longtime bully Spencer disappears, he’s ecstatic: Life as a sixteen-year-old gay outcast in Wahiawā, Hawai’i just got a lot easier. But Keoni can’t seem to escape Spencer’s memory—there are missing posters everywhere, his best friend is spearheading a fundraiser, and some people think that Spencer didn’t actually run away.
      Aaron didn’t know what to expect when his dad uprooted them after his mom’s death, but it wasn’t that the first person he’d connect with in their new town would go missing. Still reeling from the loss, Aaron tries to make friends, but that’s hard with his selective mutism and the visions he’s having about Spencer.
      When their lives collide, Keoni and Aaron try to find the truth of what happened to Spencer. And as they draw closer to the truth, they also grow closer to each other. 

Are you looking forward to any of these? Which 2021 debut by a Latinx author are you most excited about? Let talk you in the comments!

Talk Chisme to Me: Ten Most Anticipated 2021 Titles By Latinx Authors

I am so excited to bring you this list. I am looking forward to so many books by Latinx authors that are being released this year, but I wanted to highlight the ten books that I am most eager to get my hands on. Not going to lie, it was difficult making this list only ten books long, especially when one of these authors has several books coming out this year and I had to pick only one for this list (It’s SMG, btw). I also have an upcoming post about Latinx debuts you need to have on your TBR, so I feel less guilty about not putting a bunch of debuts on this list. Be on the lookout for this post in the next couple of weeks. Covers/titles are linked to Goodreads.

 alt=1. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

      The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.
      ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?
      When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.
      One of the good ones.
      Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

 alt=2. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

      When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season…
      Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.
      But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

 alt=3. Oculta (A Forgery of Magic, #2) by Maya Motayne

      After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is travelling and revelling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.
      That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime families. Now one of the four Thief Lords of Castallan, she’s forced to preside over the illegal underground Oculta competition, which coincides with the summit and boasts a legendary prize.
      Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. Los Toros, the mysterious syndicate responsible for his brother’s murder, has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events all unexpectedly converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass.
      But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?

 alt=4. Illusionary (Hollow Crown, #2) by Zoraida Córdova

      Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.
      With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
      For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.

 alt=5. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

      Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
      When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
      In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

 alt=6. Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria

      Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.
      Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

 alt=7. Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

      Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of destroying the usurper. But this will mean turning to unlikely allies and opening herself up to unpleasant memories that have been suppressed for many years. For Yalxi is no great hero, but a cunning sorceress who once forged her path in blood – and must reckon with the consequences.
      Set in a fantastical land where jewels and blood provide symbiotic magical powers to their wearers, The Return of the Sorceress evokes the energy of classic sword and sorcery, while building a thoroughly fresh and exciting adventure ripe for our era.

8. Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

      Pitched as When Harry Met Sally by way of Sarah Dessen, the contemporary YA romance follows two next-door neighbors and ex-best friends—gamer, fanfic-writer Luisa and drummer, golden boy Sam—whose paths collide during senior year of high school when they rediscover their childhood bucket list and set out to complete it before graduation.

9. Untitled (Blazewrath Games, #2) by Amparo Ortiz

      Sequel to Blazewrath Games, no synopsis currently available.

10. The Way Back List by Lily Anderson

      Lily Anderson’s THE WAY BACK LIST, in which a 20-something over-achiever loses her Silicon Valley job, moves home with her parents, and decides to complete her high school bucket list in an effort to find herself, connecting with her small town and former friends along the way.

Are you looking forward to any of these? Which 2021 book by a Latinx author are you most excited about? Let talk you in the comments!

Talk Chisme to Me: Latinx Horror Spotlight

Today is the last day of Latinx Heritage Month. I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts and that they’ve inspired you to pick up books by Latinx authors beyond this month. Since it is October and Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I would use this final Latinx Heritage Month post to spotlight horror (and I’m using that loosely) books by Latinx authors. Also, I am always in the lookout for more, so if you know any, please share them in the comments. Covers linked to Goodreads.

Please consider donating to the following organizations:

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Black Latina Girls and Women Fund

Undocumented Indigenous Fund

Previous posts in this series you might have missed:

Talk Chisme to Me: 2020 Latinx Heritage Month TBR

Talk Chisme to Me: New & Upcoming Releases by Latinx Authors (Sept. ’20-2021)

Talk Chisme to Me: New Favorite Books by Latinx Authors

Talk Chisme to Me: First Books by Latinx Authors That Made Me Feel Seen

Today is the last day to enter my Twitter giveaway for Latinx Heritage Month. You can win any book by a Latinx author: see tweet here.

Horror Books by Latinx Authors:

1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

It will come as no surprise that Mexican Gothic is on this list. Crossing my fingers that publisher’s take notice of its success and publish more horror by Latinx authors and that Latinx authors in turn are inspired to write more of the genre.

      “An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . .
      From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed 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 and smart, with 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.”

2. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

I know you’ve heard me talk about my love for Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda. It actually combines two things that I would like to see more of: Latinx characters in horror books and Latinx characters in space.

      “Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.
      Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.
      When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.”

3. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado is my favorite short-story collection. It is deliciously eerie as it explores violence against women and female autonomy. My personal favorite is “The Husband Stitch” which years later I still think about on the regular.

      “In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
      A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
      Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.”

4. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This one is currently out of print, but you will only have to wait until May when it is rereleased. With Certain Dark Things, Moreno-Garcia flushes out the vampire trope with some of the best world-building I’ve ever come across.

      “From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.
      Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.
      Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.
      Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?”

5. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Technically more of a paranormal read, but I absolutely have to highlight Aiden Thomas’s debut Cemetery Boys. There’s a cemetery setting, both friendly and malevolent spirits, and a brujx community. It is the perfect read for this month.

      “Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
      When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
      However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.”

6. Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

If you aren’t sure about picking up creepy books, Claribel A. Ortega’s Ghost Squad has the perfect amount of humor to balance out its darker elements. Buy it for yourself or a kid in your life.

      “Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.
      For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.
      Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.
With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.”

Horror by Latinx authors on my TBR:

(all titles are either backlist or being released this year)

 alt=

1. Coyote Songs by Gabriel Iglesias

2. Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

3. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

4. Santa Muerte by Cynthia Pelayo

5. Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of Keepers by V. Castro

 alt=

6. Latinx Screams edited by V. Castro and Cina Pelayo

7. The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado and DaNi

8. White Fox by Sara Faring

9. Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

10. Monstrosity by Laura Diaz de Arce

Have you read any horror novels by Latinx authors? Which are on your TBR? Also if anyone knows any horror novels by Afro-Latinx authors, please let me know!

Talk Chisme to Me: First Books by Latinx Authors That Made Me Feel Seen

Happy Latinx Heritage Month, friends! Today on the blog I am going to be talking about some of the first books by Latinx authors that made me feel seen. I have read a lot of books by Latinx authors over the years, but I want to spotlight the first books by Latinx authors I came across as a blogger. These are the books that sparked a need in me and are basically the reason why I continue to seek out and highlight books by Latinx authors on this blog.

Please consider donating to the following organizations:

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Black Latina Girls and Women Fund

Undocumented Indigenous Fund

Previous posts in this series you might have missed:

Talk Chisme to Me: 2020 Latinx Heritage Month TBR

Talk Chisme to Me: New & Upcoming Releases by Latinx Authors (Sept. ’20-2021)

Talk Chisme to Me: New Favorite Books by Latinx Authors

Also be sure to enter my Twitter giveaway for Latinx Heritage Month, see tweet here.

First Books by Latinx Authors That Made Me Feel Seen:

1. Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

I believe Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez was one of first books by a Latinx author I reviewed on my blog way back in 2015. This is one of the first times I saw a Latinx protagonist in YA fiction and it made me thirst for more. It’s one of the reasons I started seeking out more books by Latinx authors and I will be forever grateful for coming across it.

      “Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night.
      Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night. While exploring the emotional depth of loss and transition to adulthood, Sanchez’s sharp humor and clever observations bring forth a richly developed voice.”

2. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

The Summer of the Mariposas by Guadapule Garcia McCall was the first book I read as a blogger that featured Mexican-American characters. It was also one of my first introductions to magical realism and I am still hoping we get more YA magical realism novels as they are still pretty rare.

      “When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer’s original tale.
      With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them?
      Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.”

3. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore was my first novel by the author and I have preordered and loved every single one of their books ever since. If Summer of the Mariposas was my intro to YA magical realism than this book is the reason I fell head first in love with the genre. While not a mermaid myself (I wish), I related so much to Lace Paloma and her family.

      “The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
      Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
      Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.”

4. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork deals with a lot of heavy topics. It’s the first book where I saw Latinx characters were dealing with mental illness. Those in the community know what a taboo subject it can be and I will be forever grateful for this book helping to break down the stigma in the Latinx community. Also, the food. I remember the Mexican food in this one so vividly.

      “16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital’s mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery – and perhaps rescue some others along the way.
      When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn’t be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.
      But Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength. She may not have them. She doesn’t know.
      Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one – about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.”

5. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

I still remember how much I wanted to win an ARC of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova during a Armchair BEA event. I had always been a fan of witches and it wasn’t until I read this one and the entire Brooklyn Brujas series that I realized how much I craved Latinx witches in fiction. I will never tire of them. This was also the first time I saw Latinx characters in a fantasy setting and my need for more is insatiable.

      “Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
      Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
      The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…”

What was your first read by a Latinx author as a blogger? If you are Latinx, what was the first book by a Latinx author that you saw yourself in?