25 Latin American Reads to Bring to the Beach This Summer
If you've already devoured all things Allende and García Márquez and you're looking for your next great Latin American read, don't worry, we've got you covered. We've rounded up some of our favorite light reads to throw in your purse, suitcase, or beach bag this Summer. Check out our list — and if all else fails, reread The House of Spirits — it will never get old.
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
This is the seventh novel by esteemed Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa and is a story including an irresistible cast of characters (and a secret affair!) that offers just the amount of intrigue and laughter for a vacation read.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
A group of international hostages who don't speak the same language are brought together in an imaginary South American country — by music. We promise, this book is as magical as it sounds.
Brazil by John Updike
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Teenage love. A coming-of-age story. Need we say more?
Café Tropicana by Belinda Jones
This is the kind of guilty-pleasure read that's meant for the beach: when the protagonist's father offers her the chance to take over his café in Costa Rica, she embarks on a Caribbean adventure.
The World in Half by Cristina Henríquez
A daughter's search for her father brings the reader a dreamy page-turning story you won't be able to put down.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
OK, we admit it, we're kind of obsessed with Henríquez — she's got a way with words! Her most recent novel is a teenage love story interrupted every few chapters with the hilarious and at-times-heartbreaking stories of how Latino immigrants found their way to a Delaware town.
Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
Coelho's racy story includes romance, dance, and sexy Brazilian nights. What more could you need for a vacation?
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado
While the main character of this novel is a widow, you'll be inspired by her search for herself after her husband's death — which includes cooking lessons and learning to love again.
The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
This English translation of a throwback read from the '90s follows Macabéa, who lives in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and has hopes of one day being like Marilyn Monroe, despite her less-than-Hollywood good looks.
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
If you prefer your beach reads like your beach cocktails — short but delicious — pick up this Borges classic collection of stories and essays.
Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez
This somewhat scandalous novel was once banned in Cuba but gained popularity in the states because of its dark political story line set in Havana after the Soviet Union collapse.
How I Became a Nun by Cesar Aira
Aira's novel set in Rosario, Argentina, features a young protagonist who identifies as both a boy and a girl; the 2007 English translation earned acclaim for the way the author effortlessly helps the reader imagine what gender dysphoria might be like.
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
This is the kind of book you'll want to reread and dog-ear over and over again — full of romance, politics, and modern-day magical realism. You won't want to put it down.
We the Animals by Justin Torres
The tale of three brothers — half white, half Puerto Rican — and their rough childhood in New York is the kind of coming-of-age story you'll want to tell your friends about as soon as you finish.
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
Now at 12 books, the collection, by part-Puerto Rican author Keira Cass, begins with a young girl's journey to become princess. Young adult + royalty = guilty pleasure goodness.
When Reason Breaks by Cindy Rodriguez
Two high school girls bond over the work of Emily Dickinson in this easy read. Poetic, indeed.
Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich
This is a fun vacation read at its best: the main character, Frank Delgado, returns to his father's hometown in Cuba in search of the secret chicken recipe he thinks could save his restaurant back in the states.
The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
This is San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the 1950s, as told through the eyes of one of America's most celebrated writers. You'll be completely transported — and probably be craving a rum and Coke midway through this story.
The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy
Verdita is from a small mountain town in Puerto Rico, spending her days daydreaming about a large glamorous life outside of cooking arroz con pollo and going to mass. The novel is set in 1961, but no matter your age, you'll find yourself relating to her.
How to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capó Crucet
The short story collection introduces the reader to a memorable band of characters in the mostly Cuban, working-class neighborhoods of Miami.
Let It Rain Coffee by Angie Cruz
Esperanza left the Dominican Republic for a more glamorous life in the US but finds herself living in a small apartment with her husband and two sons instead. And then, a death in the family flips everything on its head. Cruz has been compared to Gabriel García Marquéz; you won't want to miss her work.
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle
You don't often picture suffragettes in Cuba, but this book brings together a Swedish feminist exploring the island with two unexpected friends in the 1850s. It's dreamy and ethereal; bring a pen to underline your favorite lines.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Finally! sci-fi lit for the urban Latino crowd. You'll meet Sierra Santiago, whose fun hipster Summer in Brooklyn, NY, is turned upside by a zombie. Yes, you read that right: a zombie!
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Fancy yourself a Hemingway-lover? Then don't miss this piece of literature about an elderly Cuban fisherman with writing so evocative, you'll wish you could sit down with Bumby himself to discuss over cigars.
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
This novel centers on two Puerto Rican sisters who are complete opposites. Whether you were the perfect daughter, the rebel, or somewhere in between, you'll relate to both girls — and find yourself laughing out loud.