We’re excited to see 2020 has been off to a strong start in the literary world for Latinx writers and we’ve selected these 9 books to showcase some of the best books released in February. The books span various genres and feature both fiction and non-fiction for teens and adults. Discover the young adult fantasy novel We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia, a feminist dystopian novel featuring Latinx female leads in a romantic relationship and fighting the powers that be. You can also dive into the thrilling Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a suspenseful crime story taking place in Baja California, Mexico.
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata follows a young, orphaned Dominicana named Adana Moreau who emigrates to New Orleans in the early 1900s and writes her own science fiction novel. Zapata explores the idea of parallel worlds, identity, displacement and erasure through Adana’s life and the storyline of her book. When Saul Drower discovers her manuscript decades later, he sets out on a journey to find her son in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina hits adding another eerie parallel universe to the storyline. The critically acclaimed novel is perfect for sci-fi/fantasy book lovers who’ll appreciate the depth of Zapata’s storytelling and the universality of his message.
The Everything I Have Lost by Sylvia Zéleny
In The Everything I Have Lost by Sylvia Zéleny, the story is told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl named Julia who jots everything down in her diary. She lives in Juárez, Mexico and her musings range from the typical thoughts of a young girl to the very real concern of getting shot in her neighborhood. Surrounded by narco-violence and concerned her father may be involved with the drug cartels, Julia longs for safety her extended family has in El Paso, Texas. Many readers may be familiar with the narco-violence in the area but this coming-of-age story brings another layer of reality through her eyes.
Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
— 🚀🚀🚀📚 SF Signal (@sfsignal) June 23, 2020
In this suspenseful thriller, accomplished Mexican-Canadian writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia tells a coming-of-age story set in Mexico that takes a dark turn. Untamed Shore follows 18-year-old Viridiana who is bored with her life in Baja California in 1979 and becomes fascinated by a trio of wealthy tourists visiting from America. When one of them dies Viridiana’s world becomes dangerous when she tries to protect them and inquiries are made that put her in danger. This is Moreno-Garcia’s first crime thriller proving her talents as one of the most popular and exciting fiction authors of our time.
This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams
This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams is about half-Cuban/half white dancer Isabelle Warren who meets aspiring poet Afro- Latino Alex Rosario on the train in NYC and finds herself falling for him. She meets Alex as her dad loses his job and she tries to maintain a sense of normalcy while attending a private school and keeping up with her dream to be a professional dancer, something her Havana-born mom doesn’t support. In the span of their relationship, the book explores difficult subjects including Isabelle’s mother’s prejudice against Latino men, the pressure Alex gets from his father to pursue a career in baseball, and Isabelle’s older brother’s mental illness. The book realistically incorporates code-switching, bilingualism, and authentic Latinx family dynamics.
With a Star in my Hand by Margarita Engle
Cuban-American writer Margarita Engle’s latest With a Star in my Hand is a tale written in verse about the life of Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, known as the pioneer of Modernismo. The poet blended poetry and prose and with the publication of his first book, Azul, his style launched the literary movement known as Modernismo. The title is inspired by a line by Darío that she quotes at the beginning of the book: ¡Momotombo se alzaba lírico y soberano, yo tenía quince años: una estrella en la mano! Engle was the 2017–2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate and is a Newbery Honor winner.
We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia
We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia is the second half of a dystopian duology that tells a feminist story about family and fighting the powers that be while featuring a Latinx lesbian love story. This sequel follows Carmen as the operative for the resistance group, La Voz, who is torn between her loyalty to the group and her girlfriend who is at the center of an assassination plot. The first book, We Set the Dark on Fire, was critically acclaimed for its captivating storyline reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale with a Latinx twist that touches on real-world issues including immigration and feminism.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
If you’re searching for a light beach read with a touch of romance and fun, The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa is the best pick. Wedding planner Carolina Santos was left at the altar and though it was a crushing blow personally, she now has an amazing work opportunity with one catch — she has to work with the best (worst) man. She and marketing expert Max Hartley have to learn to work together to win the chance to work a high-profile wedding but knowing he’s the reason his brother left her means she’s out for revenge. But working so closely means the thin line between love and hate gets blurred whether they like it or not.
Selena: Queen of Tejano Music by Silvia López
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Selena’s death but her legacy lives on and people remain fascinated by the Queen of Tejano Music and this picture book caters to her youngest fans. Selena: Queen of Tejano Music (available in both English and Spanish) by Cuban writer Silvia López tells the story of the beloved icon with beautiful and colorful illustrations by Paola Escobar. The book also includes a breakdown of terms including “tejano” and “Tex-Mex” music and a timeline of her life. Adults and children alike will appreciate this librito honoring one of the most successful Latina singers of all time.
Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief by Anna Meriano
I am having a lot of feelings today but absolutely #1 is gratitude to @CakeLiterary , @WaldenPondPress , @moxvi_ , and all the readers who continue to show up for these brujas cocineras 😭💖💙💚🍪✨ pic.twitter.com/vzZhEnMG4Z
— Anna Meriano (@AnnaMisboring) February 5, 2020
The latest installment in the Love Sugar Magic collection by Anna Meriano is Mixture of Mischief where Leonora Logroño is working on becoming a full-fledged bruja like the rest of her family. In the midst of this, baking heirlooms have gone missing and a new bakery threatens her own family’s panadería, Amor y Azúcar. She then gets a visit from her long-lost Abuelo Logroño who offers to teach her but she questions whether or not she can trust him. This is book three in the collection that follows Mexican bruja Leonora’s adventures as she comes into her magia and learns the importance of keeping her family’s magical secret.