We Recommend — Hispanic Heritage Month Reads

So many great authors and titles to choose from. Here are a few to get you started!

Afterlife: A Novel

Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, Afterlife asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith? How do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

House of Broken Angels

In his final days, beloved and ailing family patriarch Big Angel has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.

The House of Impossible Beauties

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit. 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A novel set against the violence of 1990s Columbia follows a sheltered girl and a teen maid, who forge an unlikely friendship as the families of both struggle to maintain stability amidst Bogotá’s rapidly escalating violence. Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.

The King is Always Above the People: Stories

A slyly political collection of stories about immigration, broken dreams, Los Angeles gang members, Latin American families, betrayal, family secrets, doomed love, and uncertain futures. In Daniel Alarcon’s hands, these are transformed into deeply human stories with high stakes. Richly drawn, full of unforgettable characters, The King is Always Above the People reveals experiences both unsettling and unknown, and yet eerily familiar in this new world.

A Long Petal of the Sea

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more and will find friends in the most unlikely of places.

Lost Children Archive

A mother and father set out with their kids from New York to Arizona. Told through the voices of the mother and her son, as well as through a stunning tapestry of collected texts and images–including prior stories of migration and displacement–Lost Children Archive is a story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most.

Sabrina & Corina: Stories

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her indigenous Latina characters and the land they inhabit. Set against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado, a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite, these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives-, with caution, grace, and quiet force. Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.

Taína

When Julio, a young Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian boy in Spanish Harlem, hears that Taína, a fifteen-year-old girl from his church, is pregnant, and that both mother and daughter insist that she is a virgin, he decides to believe them. Ridiculed for his naivete, Julio begins to feel like even more of a misfit than he’s always felt. His staunch yet unrequited loyalty to Taína soon unleashes a whirlpool of emotions that bring Julio to question his parents, his religion, and even the basic building blocks of modern science (who’s to say Taína’s baby’s conception wasn’t indeed a mystical, scientific miracle?) He finds himself willing to uproot everything he once believed in, and all for the sake of his fervent devotion to the young girl.