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Photos: Macmillan; Harper Collins; Peachtree
Culture

13 Latinx Young Adult Books Out This Year You Need to Read


We’re about a quarter of the way through 2022, and a whole slew of books by Latinx authors have already come out this year, including tons of picture books for kids and middle grades books that our kids are loving. That said, the young adult genre has been one that young and up-and-coming Latinx authors have been making major headway in for several years now, and this year is no exception. There are literally dozens of Latinx YA novels being published in 2022, including quite a few that we’re really looking forward to not just picking up for our kids, but for reading ourselves as well.

It’s absolutely thrilling to see our faces, our names, and our stories lining bookshelves, especially when our kids can relate to them too. When we were younger, it was incredibly rare to see ourselves represented in literature, and for that reason alone, we’ll always celebrate the pioneering, brave, and impactful work of Latinx authors. While there are more to come later in the year, here are 13 of the Latinx YA novels by authors including Laeken Zea Kemp, Lizz Huerta and Anna-Marie McLemore, that we’re excited about in 2022.

The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres

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Photo: Penguin Random House

Release Date: February 22, 2022

The premise of The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres is about a young Latinx dancer in the Midwest in the 1980s, as she strives to become the principal dancer at her studio. Desperate to meet singing sensation Prince, her ballet master father allows her to audition for a chance to audition for him, and after meeting another, more free-spirited dancer, she decides it’s time to break out of her shell.

The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

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Photo: Macmillan

Release Date: March 1, 2022


The highly anticipated young adult novel, The Lost Dreamer by author Lizz Huerta, was released at the start of March. It’s a gorgeous book of the fantasy genre that is steeped in Indigenous history and spirituality. The book is about a young girl who is descended from a long line of seers, who comes into her own at the same time a new king decides he wants to get rid of her people. The story travels between the ancient world and present day to deliver a tale that celebrates the strength of women and the challenges we face fighting against the norms of a patriarchal society.

Lake Lore by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Photo: Macmillan

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Lake Lore by Anna-Marie McLemore puts a twist on the fantasy genre by focusing on two non-binary teenagers who find themselves in a magical underwater world. Both have secrets that threaten to be revealed when the underwater world begins to push through the surface, and despite not knowing each other well at all, they have to put their trust in one another in order to keep the things they want hidden under wraps.

Boys of the Beast by Monica Zepeda

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Photo: Lee & Low Books

Release Date: April 12, 2022

Monica Zepeda’s debut novel, Boys of the Beast, promises to be a really interesting tale that follows three vastly different men on a cross-country road trip. They’re cousins who know very little of each other, but will soon learn more about each other — and themselves — than they could have imagined. The story is told from the perspectives of all three characters, and gives deep insight into each of them, and what it will take for them to chase their dreams.

Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp

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Photo: Hachette Book Group

Release Date: April 5, 2022

Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp is about a love story between two, young Latinx musicians trying to overcome grief, fear, doubt, and the expectations of their families. It sounds exactly like the type of fast-paced, introspective, and relatable read we could binge in no time. Will their first loves help give them the courage to fight for what they want? We sure hope so. Honestly, just based on the synopsis, we’d love to see a movie adaptation made out of this one.

Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt

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Photo: Penguin Random House

Release Date: April 5, 2022


The long-awaited novel by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt, Does My Body Offend You?, is an empowering read for young, Latinas coming to terms with their changing bodies. It’s about a teenager whose recently moved from Puerto Rico to Florida and finds herself humiliated by school administration when she shows up without a bra on. An outspoken feminist befriends her, and they unexpectedly end up leading a rebellion against the sexist status quo.

Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes

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Photo: Razorbill

Release Date: April 19, 2022

A sweet, fun and lively YA romance, author bestselling author J.C. Cervantes’, Flirting With Fate, is about a girl who gets into a car accident on the way to her grandmother’s deathbed. She believes that she’s missed the magical blessing that is typically passed down to the women in her family from each matriarch who passes, but soon learns that the boy she got into the accident with received the blessing instead, and she realizes she must reconnect with him if there’s any hope of retrieving it.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero

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Photo: Peachtree

Release Date: May 3, 2022

R.M. Romero’s The Ghosts of Rose Hill is rooted in folklore. It’s the story of a Jewish-Latina who is sent to live with her aunt in Prague. There she discovers a long-lost cemetery where she meets the ghost of a boy whom she unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with. When a mysterious stranger offers to give her magic so that she can be with her ghost and live out her passion for playing the violin without the hindrance of her family’s expectations, she’s tempted, but soon learns the stranger may be a bit more sinister than she thought.

Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee

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Photo: Harper Collins Publishers

Release Date: May 10, 2022

This dare we say, groundbreaking teen rom-com by Emery Lee, is the adorable story of not just multi-ethnic love, but of LGBTQ+ multi-ethnic love. We’re all about representation from all angles, and we love that this story might just help some young people feel seen, worthy, and validated. It’s about two teens who grew up together — though never got along all that well — both bound by family duty. When they decide to work together to save their families’ businesses they end up facing feelings they never expected.

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda

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Photo: Macmillan

Release Date: May 24, 2022


Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda is the story of a Texas teen who knows she’s different, but is generally happy. Things get complicated though when she has to pick an escort for her sister’s quinceañera, and she realizes that her sexuality and romantic relationships might indeed present bigger issues as she heads deeper into her future, and realizes that if she doesn’t fully embrace who she is, she may be worse off for it.

The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

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Photo: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: May 17, 2022

Sonora Reyes’ upcoming novel, A Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, is about a queer Mexican-American teen starting a brand-new — mostly white — school. In an effort to fit in and stay out of trouble, she decides she’s going to make sure no one finds out she’s gay. Only problem is, she’s quick to fall in love which threatens to get her in trouble when she hilariously falls hard for the only “out” lesbian at her new school.

What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla

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Photo: Soho Teen

Release Date: August 2, 2022

On the grittier side, author Francesca Padilla’s What’s Coming to Me, is an action-packed novel about a teen forced to hold down a job at an ice cream shop that she hates, after her mother is hospitalized, leaving her to fend for herself. When the ice cream shop is robbed, she sees a way out, and sets about finding cash she believes is hidden somewhere on the property, which also has the added benefit of helping her get revenge on her misogynistic boss.

This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves

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Photo: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Have we mentioned that we love a teen romance? This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves, is the perfect late summer beach read. It’s about a teenager with a massive crush on his best friend, with nearly no hope of it being reciprocated. Desperate to get over him, he decides to find a summer fling. Problem is…only one person knows he’s gay! Still, he flirtatiously pursues several guys, only to realize that his plan may have been flawed from the get-go.