Alexis Daria, Naima Coster, and Gabriela Garcia recommend their favorite books by other Latinx authors
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EW asked authors Alexis Daria (A Lot Like Adios), Naima Coster (What's Mine and Yours), and Gabriela Garcia (Of Women and Salt) to recommend their favorite books by other Latinx authors. Here, they offer up an intriguing mix of poignant memoirs and novels about love, lust, and family.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
"The Poet X is the book I wish I had as a teenager," says Daria. "It captures the hard and messy feelings of that age, through the specific lens of a first-generation Dominican girl in New York City. Xiomara (the titular poet X) and her mother constantly butt heads as Xiomara struggles to know herself, to communicate her hopes and dreams and fears, and finds her voice through spoken word. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates the audiobook beautifully."
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
"Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno made me cry, and I loved it," Daria says. "Perfectionist Rosa and her college-decision troubles are relatable, but the added layer of the 'curse' makes Rosa, her curandera (healer) abuela, her flighty artist mother, and the whole town of Port Coral come alive. This is a story about family, dreams, magic, and love, about learning to take risks and let go. You'll be rooting for Rosa Santos from page 1."
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis
"Cantoras is a novel about five queer woman living under the dictatorship in Uruguay who escape to a remote beach town together as often as they can to find refuge with one another," says Coster. "It charts the transformations in these women's relationships as it charts the evolution of their country. It's about love and the desire to be free. It meant so much to me when I read it. It was immersive, but also sweeping and deep. Everyone I've recommended it to has adored it and passed it on to friends."
Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz
Says Garcia: "Ordinary Girls is about the author's upbringing in Miami and also Puerto Rico and her family dynamics growing up in very difficult circumstances. I also primarily grew up in Miami, and think this is one of the realest books I've read about the city, about the side of the city people rarely see or understand. I love how it's centered around the author's friendships and relationships with other women that protect her, sustain her, and challenge her. It's also just beautifully written — there's so much pulsing life in [the language]. It's written with such a generosity of spirit and a fire that is really exciting to read."
The President and the Frog by Carolina de Robertis
"The President and the Frog is so different from Cantoras but no less powerful," says Coster. "It's surreal and thought-provoking, moving and deep. The author means it to be a love letter to anyone who is living in despair, so it's the perfect book for our times. It looks at what it means to hold on to hope and struggle for a better world when your circumstances and the larger circumstances are unbelievably bleak."
The Affairs of the Falcóns by Melissa Rivero
"The Affairs of the Falcóns is the story of an undocumented Peruvian woman, an immigrant named Anna, who is living in New York City and trying to make a way for her family," says Coster. "She faces all kinds of obstacles and makes the best choices she can, and this book is so moving and riveting. It's impossible not to root for Anna and keep turning the pages to see what's to become of her and her family."
Delicious Temptation by Sabrina Sol
"Delicious Temptation combines family and food with steamy, trope-y romance goodness," says Daria. "The first in Sabrina Sol's Delicious Desires series follows Amara, a good girl who's scared to go after her dreams, and Eric, the bad boy who happens to be her brother's best friend. Bonus: It's set in a Mexican bakery! You definitely want to have sweet snacks on hand while reading this one."
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
"It's about a woman named Anna who enters into a marriage with a much older man when she's very young," says Coster. "She moves from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights, and it's her story of searching for love and community in a new city. She finds her way into adulthood and eventually into motherhood. It's just wonderful — I highly recommend it."
American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
Says Daria: "American Dreamer kicks off Adriana Herrera's Dreamers series about a group of Afro Latinx men who are best friends, following their hearts in work and in love. Dreamer centers on Nesto, the owner of an Afro-Caribbean food truck who moves from New York City to Ithaca. That's where he meets Jude, a librarian with family baggage and a racist coworker who targets Nesto's truck. The entire series is excellent (especially in audio, thanks to award-winning narrator Sean Crisden) and can be read in any order, but American Dreamer introduces all the main characters and sets the tone."
Velorio by Xavier Navarro Aquino
"Velorio a story of a group of people, all survivors, who band together after Hurricane Maria," says Garcia "It's this really haunting, dark allegorical story about power. It's written beautifully on a sentence level." (The book is out January 4, 2022.)
Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera
Says Coster: "Neruda on the Park is a mother-daughter story about a neighborhood trying to keep gentrification at bay. It involves the creation of a crime ring to make the neighborhood less desirable to newcomers. It is unlike anything I have ever read before. It's thrilling, but it's also a family story, so sensitive and beautifully told. It's that rare kind of book that can be chilling, but also moving and fun." (The book is out May 17, 2022.)
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