There is such an expectation for 2021 to be different than 2020, and I feel that the theme of 2021 when it comes to books is the sweet gratification of reading the books we have been eagerly awaiting! Last year my average rating of books was about three stars, which is frankly appropriate for the dumpster fire year known as 2020. The main issue behind my three-star rating is that last year, I wasn’t intentional about my reading, and 2021 is going to be the year where I am going to utilize that book planner and chose the books I know I am going to be the most passionate about. Obvi, there is nothing I am more passionate about than my Latinx authors! Here is a list of books written down in my book planner that I am sure I will fall in love with, and I hope you do too!
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
When Happi’s sister Kezi Smith is killed after attending a social-justice rally, she is left to pick up the pieces of her mysterious death. After her sister Kezi Smith’s death, she is idealized as the social justice hero in her fight against police brutality. Happi ruminates about the virtuous and unblemished sister she is depicted as and begins to go on her own journey of honoring Kezi along with her sister Genny. With their copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their companion, they embark on their quest to remember who Kezi Smith was and soon discover a shocking truth to Kezi’s story that they were utterly unprepared for.
With the Black Lives Matter movement and my quest to do my own work on social justice, this book is on the top of my TBR!
Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela
Anamaria is a 13-year old girl living in Mexico who is surprised to find a strange woman who claims to be her 30-year-old future self. She tries her best to avoid this lady, especially since in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, during the ’90s, there is an influx of cases involving kidnapped girls and women. The mysterious thirty-year-old lady refuses to stop bothering her, and for some reason, she can’t stop mentioning something about saving a girl…Anamaria is convinced that she doesn’t need anyone to save her, and even if she did need saving, how can she ask for help when her beloved city is dealing with the tragedy of the stolen girls?
I really have a thing for books that involve some sort of time travel, and knowing that this book is written in verse and it’s for fans of The House of Spirits, this is the kind of book I will run to the bookstore to get ahold of.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
All Charlie Vega wants is a healthy relationship with her body, but it’s not an easy task when all her mom does is try to get her into one weight loss fad after the other. Charlie’s world has its own ideas of what she is supposed to look like, and she continues to be fat shamed by people around her. The only person on Charlie’s side is her best friend, Amelia, the opposite of Charlie. Amelia is skinny, popular and athletic. When Charlie begins a relationship with Brian, he is one of the first guys that she likes who really notices her. Unfortunately, she finds out that he asked out her friend Amelia first. This revelation rocks Charlie’s orbit and she begins to second guess herself and her worth.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a coming of age novel about a Fat brown girl living in the white suburbs of Connecticut where she learns how painful it is to grow up in a place that doesn’t understand you and how the path to acceptance is never easy.
As someone who has struggled with my body for most of my adolescent life this is the kind of book that my teenage self desperately needed and still needs today!
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
The community is in an uproar in Piedmont of North Carolina when a county initiative draws students from the Black east side of town to attend the west side white high schools. The story begins with Gee, a young Black man whose determined mother wants to give him the opportunity for a better life. Then, there is Noelle, a stubborn white mother who only sees her daughters as white when they are half-Latina. When Gee and Noelle cross paths and join the school play, they learn that their different families have more ties than they ever thought possible. Through their journey to adulthood they realize that their mothers’ choices ultimately change their life in one way or another.
What’s Mine and Yours seems like a powerful page-turner with great conversations about how race affects our most significant relationships.
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
This story is about two women, Jeanette and her mother, Carmen, a Cuban immigrant. Both of them are battling with their own trauma, diaspora, along with the struggles of a mother-daughter relationship. Of Women and Salt explores these two women’s powerful stories and how their lives have changed over time through the turbulent political climate of 19th century Cuba, Mexico, and present-day Miami.
I have a feeling I am going to fall in love with this novel especially since it’s giving me Dreaming in Cuban vibes which is one of my favorite Latinx classics!
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira
Carmen wants desperately for her happily ever after, but unfortunately, her “happily ever after” is put on hold when she is working for the unpaid summer internship from hell, which involves her performing as a party princess in Miami’s stifling heat! Carmen must learn to dance in the suffocating humidity of the Miami heat, avoid the temptation of her charming ex, and put an end to her cousin trying to sabotage her quinceañera to hopefully achieve her happily ever after.
Being from Miami, I have been through my run of quinceañeras and was just never thrilled with the idea of having my own quinceañera. Although that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to vicariously living through Carmen’s quinceañera and experience the telenovela drama of it all!
Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno
The sophomore novel by Nina Moreno is one of the most anticipated Latinx books of the year! This is a contemporary YA romance set in the same town of Port Coral that introduces two next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Luisa and Sam. They end up reconnecting during their senior year when they find the bucket list made during their childhood. Both of them rekindle their friendship when they set out to complete their bucket list before graduation.
Nina Moreno’s is literally in my auto-buy top favorite author list, and I had to save this for last because I can’t begin to express how excited I am for this book that is described as having the feels of When Harry Met Sally! Nina Moreno’s writing is poetic, lyrical, and her writing has a distinct quality of making me cry and laugh at the same time.
Which book will you dive into first?