15 Books by Afro-Latinx Writers You Won't Want to Put Down
Latinx authors like Elizabeth Acevedo and Naima Coster have been quite busy shaking things up in the publishing world over the past few years. Much to our delight, we've been seeing their work front and center on bookstore shelves more and more lately — particularly books by Afro-Latinx authors. It's thrilling to see so many new books that represent not just our cultures as Latinx people but also the many intricacies of them being represented in literature. Because, honestly, what are books if not a medium in which to share one's experiences with the masses?
And we're not just talking about stories that touch on the struggles and obstacles our people have historically faced. We're talking about books that simply depict us living and experiencing life in authentic ways. That matters. So, when we see books by Mexican authors and books by Dominican authors and books by Puerto Rican authors sprinkled throughout store shelves, it fills us with pride.
For so long, Afro-Latinx people have been hugely underrepresented in this area. We've largely been invisible in books for most of history, but the incredible Afro-Latinx authors of the 21st century are doing everything they can to change that, and we're set on throwing our support — and dollars — at them so that publishers know that we are here, we want to be seen, and our stories deserve to be told.
With that in mind, here we're sharing some incredible must-read books by Afro-Latinx authors that are either their latest releases or coming out in 2022. From young-adult novels to romances, we've got you covered.
"The Wedding Crasher" by Mia Sosa
Coming in March 2022, "The Wedding Crasher" ($16) by prolific romance novelist Mia Sosa is a super-fun romp of a story about a woman who is recruited to be her wedding-planner cousin's day-of assistant but ends up in a sticky situation when she witnesses something that proves the bride and groom's relationship is doomed. After she crashes the wedding to warn him, the two somehow end up in a fake relationship in a bid to advance the jilted groom's career.
"Queen of Urban Prophecy" by Aya de León
"Queen of Urban Prophecy" ($16) by Aya de León is just as entertaining as it is impactful. It's about a young musician who rockets to fame before realizing her responsibility goes far beyond her music or even her fans. As someone with sudden influence in her industry, she begins to understand the importance of speaking out against some of the things running rampant in the business, like misogyny, racial and gender inequality, and capitalism.
"Inheritance: A Visual Poem" by Elizabeth Acevedo
Celebrated Dominican-American poet Elizabeth Acevedo's long-awaited fourth book, "Inheritance: A Visual Poem" ($17), is heading to bookstores in May 2022, and it's going to be a bit of a departure from the novel-in-verse style we've come to expect from her. It's essentially a reprint of her most famous poem, "Inheritance," accompanied by gorgeous illustrations from artist Andrea Pippins on each page.
"Chula" by Amanda Alcántara
"Chula" ($15) by Amanda Alcántara is a gorgeous collection of bilingual poems, short stories, and vignettes, centered around her experiences as a woman from the Dominican Republic and what her life was like before and after she moved from her country to the United States. It's a deep self-exploration from Alcántara that spans from her early childhood until well into her very different life as an adult.
"What's Mine and Yours" by Naima Coster
The second novel by Dominican-American author Naima Coster, "What's Mine and Yours" ($18) is a riveting "New York Times" bestseller about a multigenerational family grappling with various issues that come up in their North Carolina community over multiple decades. In the aftermath of school integration, two families find themselves forever connected in a way that they never expected. The book explores a number of topics that face people of color, including socioeconomic disparities, colorism, and bigotry.
"Malcriada & Other Stories" by Lorraine Avila
A book of short stories by Lorraine Avila, "Malcriada & Other Stories" ($20) is an illustration of life itself. The stories span countries and generations and dig deep into the formative experiences of a variety of characters, from a 12-year-old immigrant to a cacao farmer. It's a raw and absolutely beautiful look at what it is to be human and how our individual experiences shape our perspectives and actions.
"Plantains and Our Becoming" by Melania Luisa Marte
Only 250 copies of poet Melania Luisa Marte's book "Plantains and Our Becoming" ($20) were originally published in 2021, but it was later picked up by additional publishers, and a larger release is anticipated in 2023. It features various poems by Marte, who is most famous for her viral poem "Afro-Latina," about the diaspora, nature, rest, love, and other compelling topics, written in English, Spanish, and Kreyol.
"Being La Dominicana" by Rachel Afi Quinn
Penned by University of Houston associate professor Rachel Afi Quinn, "Being La Dominicana" ($26) is a nonfiction spine that takes a deep dive into what it means to exist as a Dominican woman in the context of how Dominican women are often portrayed in the media and other visual landscapes. It tackles topics like racial ambiguity, colorism, and identity within Caribbean society and discusses how Dominican women present themselves in light of the stereotypes that have been placed upon them.
"Neruda on the Park" by Cleyvis Natera
Author Cleyvis Natera's debut novel is set to come out in May 2022. "Neruda on the Park" ($28) looks to be an intriguing read focused on how the members of one Dominican family deal with the gentrification of their New York City neighborhood and how each of their choices affects their rapidly changing community.
"Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed," Edited by Saraciea J. Fennell
"Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed" ($19), edited by Black Honduran writer Saraciea J. Fennell, is a collection of written works by various Latinx authors, including Afro-Latinx writers Elizabeth Acevedo, Naima Coster, and Janel Martinez. Each essay, poem, or story touches on the different myths and stereotypes that are perpetuated about the Latinx community and the aspects of our lives that spawned them, including things like immigration, addiction, and colorism.
"My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter" by Aja Monet
"My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter" ($15) by poet Aja Monet celebrates the beauty and power of women in all stages of life, from childhood through motherhood. The poems in the book traverse cultures, geographic locations, and time frames. They showcase the strength of women and how we experience, endure, and overcome the trials, tribulations, and successes of life, often with grace and hope.
"Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer" by Jamie Figueroa
"Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer" ($23) is Afro-Tano author Jamie Figueroa's powerful debut novel. It's about a brother and sister who return to their hometown after their mother dies and must face past traumas. There for just a few days, it becomes clear that the brother is headed for ruin, so his sister strikes up a bargain with him in the hopes of changing the course of his future before it's too late.
"We Are Owed" by Ariana Brown
A book of poetry by Black Mexican-American poet Ariana Brown, "We Are Owed" ($18) is a collection of poems that focus on Blackness in relation to Mexican and Mexican-American cultures, largely based on her experiences both during her upbringing in Texas and during visits to Mexico. The poems discuss anti-Black sentiments, Black erasure, the implications of slavery in Texas and Mexico, and many other topics that are unique to people with her experience as a Black person with Mexican ancestry.
"A Caribbean Heiress in Paris" by Adriana Herrera
Set to come out in May 2022, "A Caribbean Heiress in Paris" ($16) by Adriana Herrera is the perfect next read for fans of Latinx romance novels. The first book in a new series, it blends the genre with historical fiction to create a rich story about a new adventure, a barrier-breaking woman, and unexpected love between a Dominicana heiress and a European aristocrat in the late 19th century.
"A Woman of Endurance" by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
Coming out in April 2022, author Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa's novel "A Woman of Endurance" ($28) features a rarely discussed theme: the Puerto Rican Atlantic slave trade. Sure to be a painful but illuminating story, it's set on the island in the 19th century and centered on a woman slave who is forced to breed more slaves. As each baby is taken from her at birth, she loses the faith she once clung to. She must learn what love means in its many forms to overcome the traumas she's endured.