September 15th marked the beginning of Latinx/ Hispanic Heritage Month, so it’s the perfect time to learn more about your culture or the culture of others if you’re not Latinx. If you’re not Latinx, there are plenty of things you can do to support this community such as learn about the culture and its history, follow Latinx content creators/ influencers, shop from Latinx-owned businesses, watch shows and movies that have Latinx leads, writers and directors, or read books written by Latinx authors.
The wonderful thing about literature is that there’s a book out there for everyone to read, whether you want a specific genre or want to read more “own voices” novels. Remember that even though it’s Latinx Heritage Month, it’s important that you read diverse stories every month. But if you’re looking for new books to read this month, there’s a wide range of novels for every type of reader out there.
- The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes
The Luis Ortega Survival Club ($11) follows Ariana Ruiz who constantly gets ignored by her peers because she’s an autistic girl who never talks despite her bold fashion choices. However, Ari starts to feel hope when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her. But everything comes crashing down when they have sex at a party and Ari knows that she definitely didn’t say yes. Before Ari can process what happened, a rumor that she’s an easy target who can’t say no is started by Luis’ ex-girlfriend. Ari mysteriously finds a note in her locker that leads her to a group of students on a mission to expose Luis for the predator he is.
In the group, Ari finds herself making friends, as well as crushing on the last girl she ever expected to fall for. Before she takes Luis down, though, Ari has to come to terms with what he did to her. The Luis Ortega Survival Club has a trigger warning for rape and tells an inspiring story of consent and friendship. I had the pleasure of meeting Sonora Reyes in February and they gave me lots of good advice and were supportive of my writing career, so I will carry them with me forever.
- Northranger by REy Terciero and Bre Indigo
Northranger ($16) follows Sixteen-year-old Cade has always loved a good horror movie. After all, he’s a closeted queer Latino growing up in rural Texas, and that alone is terrifying. He spends his summer working as a ranch hand to make more money for his family, much to his horror. Despite his aversion to the early mornings and the horse poop he has to clean up, Cade doesn’t mind the company of handsome and energetic Henry who lives there.
However, when the two get to know each other better, Henry is reluctant to share details of his mother’s death and Cole is worried about what else he could be hiding.
- Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Sammy Espinoza’s life is falling apart. Her desperate attempt to win back her singer ex-girlfriend has gotten her into hot water at work, and she has one last chance to redeem herself before her column gets cut. Luckily, she has a plan, even if it won’t be easy. There’s a rumor floating around that former rock god, Max Ryan, is returning to music after spending years out of the spotlight and is secretly recording his first-ever solo album.
As it turns out, though, Sammy and Alex have history as they spent an unforgettable night together. Not only would exclusive access to Max’s new music give her the redemption she needs at work, but would also allow her to get revenge on Max for ghosting her. But Sammy is uncertain about seeing Max again since he lives in Ridley Falls and that’s where her family, who never wanted her, is from. Sammy knows that going back will force her to confront everything she’s been avoiding, but she doesn’t have anything else to lose. This book has it all from romance to family issues. If you’re a fan of music and how the entertainment industry works, you’re gonna want to read Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review ($12).
- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
Julia’s life is turned upside down when her sister, Olga is accidently killed on the busiest street in Chicago. Rather than letting Julia grieve, her mother takes her grief out on Julia by pointing out every possible way Julia is a failure. It doesn’t take long, though, for Julia to find out that Olga wasn’t the perfect daughter that everyone thought she was. Julia enlists the help of her best friend, Lorena, and her first love, Connor, to find out what she didn’t know about her sister.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter ($6) is a great book for those who feel like they can’t live up to their family’s expectations.
- Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
Ophelia Rojas is sure of herself and what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose gardening, and boys—way too many boys. Despite the fact that her friends and family make fun of her for her long list of crushes, she secretly likes it and is a hopeless romantic. Ophelia questions who she really is after she starts to think more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez more than the fact she won’t have a perfect prom night with her ex-boyfriend.
On top of that, she’s stressed about her upcoming graduation and her friendship group falling apart. With her secrets close to coming out, Ophelia must decide if wants to keep up the fantasy version of who she thought she was or rediscover who she is and change her whole world. Whether or not you’ve gone through a sexuality crisis, Ophelia After All ($12)will have you relating to how unpredictable life can be.
- The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. In a Hunger Games-like fashion, ten semidoises between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself to be worthy enough to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. Whoever wins carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, and the loser will be sacrificed to Sol where their body will be used to fuel the Sun Stones to protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next decade.
17-year-old Jade Semidios and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, Teo, has never been worried about the Trials. Instead, he’s been worried about Niya, his best friend and daughter of Tierra, who is one of the strongest heroes of their generation, as well as Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidios and Teo’s friend-turned-rival. Everyone is shocked, though, when Sol chooses two semidios that aren’t Golds: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, the god of good luck, as well as Teo. Now they are forced to compete in five mysterious trials for fame, glory, and their own survival. The Sunbearer Trials ($11) is The Hunger Games meets Percy Jackson with a Latinx main character.
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
They Both Die at the End ($8) follows Rufus Emeterio and Mateo Torrez as they live out their last day on Earth. In a world where you get a call from Death Cast on the day you’re going to die, people are able to meet others on the Last Friend app, which is where you get to encounter those who are going to die the same day you are. Rufus and Mateo meet on the app and fall in love as they spend their last day together.
They Both Die at the End will remind you how beautiful love and living life to the fullest can be.
- A Tall Dark Trouble by Vanessa Montalban
Twin sisters, Delfi and Lela, are haunted by a family curse that poisons any chance at romantic love in A Tall Dark Trouble ($20). Despite their mother forbidding them from getting involved in magic, they must embrace their powers when they receive premonitions of a mysterious killer targeting brujas. With the help of their best friend, Ethan, and brooding detective-in-training, Andres, Delfi, and Lela find out the dark secrets of their family’s past as they attempt to catch a murderer.
Meanwhile, back in the 1980s, Anita de Amas begs the spirits for the mercy of the victims of her mother’s cult. Unlike most people, she’s desperate to rid herself of her power, which manifests as inky shadows and an ability to speak to the dead. With political tensions rising and Anita’s cult initiation around the corner, she must make a decision that will change not only her fate but the fate of a nation. A Tall Dark Trouble is a magical mystery that intersects generations.
- This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves
Enrique “Quique” Luna has a goal to get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by the end of the summer by pursuing his other romantic prospects. The only issues are that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola, who has zero game, and Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with. Now for Quique’s prospects, there’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, straight-laced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson, and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill.
As summer progresses, Quique’s deep-seated fears and anxieties risk being exposed and he begins to realize that trying to move on from one guy with a bunch of other guys may not be the best idea. Whether or not you had a summer romance, This is Why They Hate Us ($18)is a must-read for Latinx Heritage Month.
- Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa
For Ander Martinez, all they’ve ever known is the Santos Vista neighborhood of San Antonia, more specifically the smell of pan dulce, the mixture of Spanish and English filling the streets, and most of all, their job at their family’s taqueria, which is where they got inspired to become a muralist. However, as they’re about to leave for art school, Ander’s wondering if they’re ready to leave it all behind. To keep them from being complacent, their family “fires” them so they can focus on their murals and prepare for college. But everything changes when they meet the new hot waiter, Santiago Lopez Alvarado.
The two quickly fall in love. Through Santi’s eyes, Ander starts to understand who they are and wants to be an artist. Meanwhile, Ander helps Santi feel more comfortable with Santos Vista and the United States. Ander & Santi Were Here ($11) is a cute, contemporary queer romance that readers will be swooning over.
- Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra
Rubi Ramos has plans to get into the prestigious Alma University and become an incredibly successful lawyer. But everything comes crashing down when she gets waitlisted for Alma and knows her parents will be less than pleased to find this out. In order to get off the waitlist, Rubi has to tutor surfer-hottie math genius Ryan and lead the debate team to a championship. She even has to keep her dreams about baking to a minimum because her mother sees it as nothing more than a hobby.
However, she can’t help herself when the First Annual Bake Off comes to town and she must decide if she wants to reject her parents and see if she has what it comes to become the OC’s best amateur baker. If you’ve ever related to deciding whether your parents’ wishes or follow your own heart, you’ll relate to Rubi Ramos’s Recipe For Success ($15).