Happy Latinx Heritage Month! As usual, we’re celebrating with some books by Latinx authors and starring queer Latinx main characters! For even more recs, check out last year’s post!
To Read Now
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention—especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.
Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart—or die trying.
The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes
Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.
Luis’s attention soon turns to something more and they have sex at a party—while Ari didn’t say no, she definitely didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumor mill begins churning—thanks, she’s sure, to Luis’s ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.
Then Ari finds a mysterious note in her locker which eventually leads her to an unlikely group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But in order to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night—and risk everything to see justice done.
Pedro & Daniel by Federico Erebia
Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father, that Daniel likes dolls, that neither boy plays sports.
Life at home is rough, but the boys have an unbreakable bond that will last their entire lives.
Together, the brothers manage an abusive home life, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.
Lucha of the Night Forest by Tehlor Kay Mejia
A scorned god.
A mysterious acolyte.
A forgetting drug.
A dangerous forest.
One girl caught between the freedom she always wanted and a sister she can’t bear to leave behind.
Under the cover of the Night Forest, will Lucha be able to step into her own power…or will she be consumed by it?
Northranger by Rey Terciero (text) and Bre Indigo (art)
Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary—but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas—real life can be way scarier.
When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there—in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.
But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get…complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding. Inspired by the gothic romance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom comes a modern love story so romantic it’s scary.
¡Ay, Mija! by Christine Suggs
In this bilingual, inventive, and heartfelt debut, graphic novel talent Christine Suggs explores a trip they took to Mexico to visit family, embracing and rebelling against their heritage and finding a sense of belonging.
Sixteen-year-old Christine takes their first solo trip to Mexico to spend a few weeks with their grandparents and tía. At first, Christine struggles to connect with family they don’t yet share a language with. Seeing the places their mom grew up—the school she went to, the café where she had her first date with their father—Christine becomes more and more aware of the generational differences in their family.
Soon Christine settles into life in Mexico, eating pan dulce, drawing what they see, and growing more comfortable with Spanish. But when Mom joins their trip, Christine’s two worlds collide. They feel homesick for Texas, struggle against traditions, and miss being able to speak to their mom without translating. Eventually, through exploring the impacts of colonialism in both Mexico and themselves, they find their place in their family and start to feel comfortable with their mixed identity.
The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz
Reina is desperate.
Stuck on the edges of society, Reina’s only hope lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never met. But the journey to her is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.
Attacked by creatures that stalk the mountains, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesaré is unwanted.
Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries to be the perfect daughter, but Eva is hiding a secret: Magic calls to her.
Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet it’s hard to ignore power when it has always been denied you. Eva is walking a dangerous path. And in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.
Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Sammy Espinoza’s life is a raging dumpster fire. Her desperate attempt to win back her singer ex-girlfriend has landed her in hot water at work, and she has one last chance before her editor cuts her column. Luckily, Sammy has a plan to redeem herself, but it won’t be easy.
Rumor has it that Max Ryan, the former rock god, is secretly recording his first-ever solo album years after he dramatically quit performing. And it just so happens that he and Sammy have history: Right before Max got his big break, he and Sammy spent an unforgettable night together.
Exclusive access to Max’s new music would guarantee Sammy’s professional comeback and, even better, give her the opportunity to serve some long-awaited revenge for his traumatic ghosting.
But Max lives in Ridley Falls, Washington, and Sammy has history there as well: a family that never wanted her and a million unanswered questions. Going back would mean confronting it all–but what else does she have to lose?
An Island Princess Starts a Scandal by Adriana Herrera
One last summer.
For Manuela del Carmen Caceres Galvan, the invitation to show her paintings at the 1889 Exposition Universelle came at the perfect time. Soon to be trapped in a loveless marriage, Manuela has given herself one last summer of freedom—in Paris, with her two best friends.
One scandalous encounter.
Cora Kempf Bristol, Duchess of Sundridge, is known for her ruthlessness in business. It’s not money she chases, but power. When she sees the opportunity to secure her position among her rivals, she does not hesitate. How difficult could it be to convince the mercurial Miss Caceres Galvan to part with a parcel of land she’s sworn never to sell?
One life-changing bargain.
Tempted by Cora’s offer, Manuela proposes a trade: her beloved land for a summer with the duchess in her corner of Paris. A taste of the wild, carefree world that will soon be out of her reach. What follows thrills and terrifies Cora, igniting desires the duchess long thought dead. As they fill their days indulging in a shared passion for the arts and their nights with dark and delicious deeds, the happiness that seemed impossible moves within reach…though claiming it would cause the greatest scandal Paris has seen in decades.
Guava Flavored Lies by J.J. Arias
All’s Fair in Love and (Pastry) War
Sylvie Campos and Lauren Machado have hated each other since before they were born. For generations, the Campos and Machado families have blamed each other for stealing pastry recipes they claim their great-grandfathers originated before fleeing Castro’s Cuba.
Having spent their lives as rivals, Lauren and Sylvie are now in their early thirties and primed to take over their respective family bakeries. That means working long, hot, seasons of outdoor food festivals where they are forced to endure each other – albeit with a lot of bantering and barb-trading. After all, no one knows how to get under Sylvie’s skin like Lauren.
Sick of dealing with Lauren and her thieving family, Sylvie sets out to unmask the Machados for the traitors they are.
But when the truth is not what Sylvie expects, will the fiery exchanges between her and Lauren turn into something hot enough to melt away generational baggage? Could they get the chance to rekindle what they almost had in high school?
A Dish Best Served Hot by Natalie Caña (October 31, 2023)
Santiago “Saint” Vega gets a second shot at love with Lola León, but when duty to his family forces him to do something she’ll never forgive, will everything he’s built come crumbling down?
Years ago, Saint walked away from the girl he loved to fulfill his duty. Now he’s struggling to build bridges between his drifting family, take on more responsibilities at his uncle’s construction company, figure out why his daughter refuses to talk at school and curtail his mischievous abuelo’s escalating pranks. Then she walks back into his life.
Social justice advocate Lola León has returned to Humboldt Park for two reasons: to help care for her dear abuelo and to serve the community center she loved, particularly the shelter for unhoused LGBTQIA+ youths. When she finds out that the Vegas are responsible for endangering both, she is more than ready to go to war—even if the boy she never forgot is standing at the front of the battlefield.
Neither of them expects to become allies in saving the shelter, helping Saint’s daughter or ending the decades-long feud between their grandfathers. They definitely don’t expect all of their old feelings to come rushing back. As Saint and Lola enter combat, they can’t help but wonder where the other’s true allegiance lies, and whether they’ll win these battles only to lose each other.
Finding My Elf by David Valdes (November 7, 2023)
Escaping to NYU for college didn’t turn out the way Cameron planned—he’s flunking his theater classes, about to lose his scholarship, and he still hasn’t found anyone he can call his “people.” When he gets home for winter break, he’s so desperate to avoid a Conversation with his dad that he takes the first acting job he can get—as a mall elf. Despite how Scroogey he feels, the plus side is that there’s a cash prize for the most festive of Santa’s helpers.
But the competition is fierce—especially from fellow elf Marco. Christmas spirit oozes out of his veins. At first Cam is determined to see him as nothing but a rival, but as they spend more time together, Cam starts to second-guess himself. What if he’s finally found his people here—in the fakest consumerist nightmare place on Earth, where he least expected it?
Caught in a Bad Fauxmance by Elle Gonzalez Rose (December 5, 2023)
Devin Báez is prepared for a relaxing winter break after his rough, first semester of art school. Sure, his family’s old Florida lake cabin is falling apart, and everything in it reminds him of his late mom. And yes, the Baezes’ next-door neighbors, the Seo-Cookes, are still petty, but things could be worse. That is, until Devin runs into the Seo-Cookes’ now annoyingly handsome son, Julian, who comes to him in need of a fake boyfriend.
Despite having a prestigious mentorship application and their beloved cabin to worry about, Devin reluctantly agrees under one condition: He can use the Seo-Cookes’ luxe vacation home to concentrate on his art. More importantly though, he can use his time there to infiltrate the rival’s domain and uncover secrets to prove they’ve been cheating at the Winter Games, an annual event where the Baezes have taken back-to-back Ls.
Passing off loathing as love is more difficult than it seems, especially when the stakes for this year’s competition are higher than ever. Bragging rights and the deed to the Baezes’ cabin is on the line. Julian may not be the pretentious jerk Devin thought he was, but with their families at each other’s throats, there’s no room for anything but fiction between them. Which is definitely a problem because Devin’s feelings for Julian are starting to feel very real.
The Diablo’s Curse by Gabe Cole Novoa (February 20, 2024)
Dami is a demon determined to cancel every deal they’ve ever made in order to tether their soul to earth and become human again. There’s just one person standing in their way: Silas. An irresistibly (and stubborn) cute boy cursed to die young, except for the deal with Dami that is keeping him alive. If they cancel the deal, Silas is dead. Unless… they can destroy the curse that has plagued Silas’s family for generations. But to do so, Dami and Silas are going to have to work together. That is, if the curse doesn’t kill them first. . . .
Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa (April 9, 2024)
When a Mariachi star transfers schools, he expects to be handed his new group’s lead vocalist spot―what he gets instead is a tenacious current lead with a very familiar, very kissable face.
In a twenty-four-hour span, Rafael Alvarez led North Amistad High School’s Mariachi Alma de la Frontera to their eleventh consecutive first-place win in the Mariachi Extravaganza de Nacional; and met, made out with, and almost hooked up with one of the cutest guys he’s ever met.
Now eight months later, Rafie’s ready for one final win. What he didn’t plan for is his family moving to San Antonio before his senior year, forcing him to leave behind his group while dealing with the loss of the most important person in his life―his beloved abuelo. Another hitch in his plan: The Selena Quintanilla-Perez Academy’s Mariachi Todos Colores already has a lead vocalist, Rey Chavez―the boy Rafie made out with―who now stands between him winning and being the great Mariachi Rafie’s abuelo always believed him to be. Despite their newfound rivalry for center stage, Rafie can’t squash his feelings for Rey. Now he must decide between the people he’s known his entire life or the one just starting to get to know the real him.
Malicia by Steven dos Santos (May 7, 2024)
High school friends Ray, Sophia, Joaquin, and Isabella embark on a perilous Halloween weekend to Malicia, a now defunct horror theme park off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
Ray enlisted his friends to help him make a documentary of the park where his mother and brother were murdered in a mass killing. But what Ray doesn’t know is that Joaquin, his crush, has a mysterious past of his own. With an impending hurricane and horrors around every corner, they all struggle to survive the park while discovering secrets about each other as their weekend adventure goes off the rails.
The group must not only face the deadly storm and their own inner demons, but also the ancient malignant presence on the island, threatening to plunge them into madness, and destroy them one by one.
Queerceañera by Alex Crespo (May 7, 2024)
No description is available for this one yet, but don’t you need it, just from the title? Of course you do.
Flawless Girls by Anna-Marie McLemore (May 28, 2024)
The Soler sisters are infamous in polite society―brazen, rebellious, and raised by their fashionable grandmother who couldn’t care less about which fork goes where. But their grandmother also knows the standards that two Latina young ladies will be held to, so she secures them two coveted places at the Alarie House, a prominent finishing school that turns out first ladies, princesses, and socialites.
Younger sister Isla is back home within a day. She refuses to become one of the eerily sweet Alarie girls in their prim white dresses. Older sister Renata stays. When she returns months later, she’s unfailingly pleasant, unnervingly polite, and, Isla discovers, possibly murderous. And the same night she returns home, she vanishes.
As their grandmother uses every connection she has to find Renata, Isla re-enrolls, intent on finding out what happened to her sister. But the Alarie House is as exacting as it is opulent. It won’t give up its secrets easily, and neither will a mysterious, conniving girl who’s either controlling the house, or carrying out its deadly orders.