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best latina books 2021
Photos: Instagram/@alexisdaria; @crystalwrote; Penguin Random House
Culture

11 of the Best Books by Latinas of 2021 You Need to Read


It was such a good year for Latinx literature! So many insanely talented Latinx authors released new books this year that we honestly couldn’t even keep up. There are even more exciting Latinx books coming out in 2022, but while we wait for them to drop, we’re going to take some time to highlight the books by Latina author that made their mark this year. From the latest by Latina literary icon Isabel Allende, to the debut novel by Puerto Rican poet, Elisabet Velasquez, these are the best spines by Latina authors that came out in 2021:

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Author Crystal Maldonado’s Fat Chance, Charlie Vega took the Young Adult market by storm when it came out early in 2021. The book revolves our Latina teen Charlie as she explores a budding love affair, the complex relationship with her white mother, and her relationship with her body. It’s  a body positive, empowering, coming-of-age story, that will make you laugh and maybe cry too, as Charlie navigates her insecurities to find that love within for herself.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, $19, available from Cafe Con Libros

The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

The Soul of a Woman by literary icon, Isabel Allende, is an ode to the strength and resilience and beauty of women. Isabel taps into her feminine mindset to deliver an inspiring and thought-provoking read about what it really means to be a woman and embrace all aspects of that femininity. It’s her 25th book and she spoke with us over on Instagram about writing the book including how she made up the list of all the things a woman needs to be happy. 

The Soul of a Woman, $21, available from The Lit. Bar

What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster


What sets apart author Naima Coster’s second novel, What’s Mine and Yours, is character development. It tells the story of how two families end up forever intertwined despite their seemingly vast differences, and touches on themes of race, family dysfunction, relationships and more, using the complex stories of characters who feel incredibly real.

What’s Mine and Yours, $28, available from Kew & Willow Books

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

Gabriela Garcia’s bestselling debut novel, Of Women and Salt, garnered tons of attention almost immediately after its release. It’s a poignant story about topics that deeply align with the Latinx experience in America, including immigration, addiction and family relationships, that spans generations, all while highlighting the weight of motherhood.

Of Women and Salt, $25, available from The Drama Book Shop

For Brown Girls With Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez

For Brown Girls With Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez, has been described as a “love letter for women of color,” and it lives up to that description. Prisca provides personal anecdotes as well as research related to issues affecting brown girls including toxic masculinity, impostor syndrome, and intersectionality. It’s an empowering read that will make you feel seen.

For Brown Girls With Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, $28, available from Word Up Books

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed by Various Authors

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is an incredible collection of stories written by authors and artists including Elizabeth Acevedo, Naima Coster, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, that highlight the reality of being in the Latinx disapora in the U.S. Some of the topics covered include mental health, colorism, and what it means to live in between two cultures. It’s an empowering tribute to our community and our rich cultures and histories.

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, $17, available from Duende District

My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes


My Broken Language is a powerful memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes,  the writer who helped Lin-Manuel Miranda pen In The Heights and wrote the screenplay for the Netflix animated film, Vivo. It chronicles her experience growing up in North Philadelphia amongst a large Puerto Rican family. In particular, it’s an ode to the women in her family, from whom she’s drawn inspiration her entire life.

My Broken Language, $28, available from Third House Books

A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria

If you’re a fan of the romance genre, just like it’s predecessor, You Had Me At Hola, A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria, is a must-read. It’s the steamy tale of teenage unrequited love come to fruition as former best friends reunite in adulthood. The thing about the author’s romances though, is that they are written to intentionally empower women and the LGBTQ+ community, which makes them much more interesting and engaging to read than traditional romances.

A Lot LIke Adiós, $16, available from Epilogue Book Cafe

My Book of the Dead by Ana Castillo

My Book of the Dead is a stunning new collection of poems from Xicana poet, Ana Castillo. The poems touch on difficult and controversial topics from politics to the environmental crisis and everything in between. The book is impactful, eye-opening and validating. It even features illustrations drawn by the author herself.

My Book of the Dead, $23, available from Duende District

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova is a national bestseller that marries various genres  including historical fiction and spiritual fantasy, in a story about a family whose always been in the dark about their matriarch’s past, but several years after she dies, they become desperate to uncover her secrets as members of the family begin dying. Hoping to discover the truth, they travel to her home country of Ecuador.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, $27, available from Kew & Willow Books

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

when we make it hiplatina
Photo: Penguin Random House

Poet Elisabet Velasquez’s first book, When We Make It, is a poignant novel-in-verse that deftly portrays the lived experience of many second-, third- and fourth-generation Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland. Through the story of a teenager named Sarai, we see the struggle of someone in the midst of trying to break free from generational trauma and hoping and striving for better with little guidance. We see the stories of so many like us and we’re reminded that in the end, life is so much more than just “making it.”

When We Make It, $20, available from Cafe Con Libros