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Updated on Sep 14, 2020. Posted on Oct 15, 2019

16 Books By Latina Authors That I'm Definitely Adding To My Reading List

As recommended by Goodreads users.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, BuzzFeed asked Goodreads about the books written by Latina authors its readers loved. Here are 16 of the highest-rated works by Latinas:

1. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Black Swan

The youngest daughter in a Mexican family, Tita has been forbidden to marry and forced to take care of her mother until she dies. But, Tita falls in love with Pedro. In a desperate act to stay a part of her life, Pedro marries Tita's sister and, for two decades, the two are unable to act on their passion, keeping their love a secret until a crazy twist of events reunites them.

Promising review: "I adored reading this book. And I laughed so much!! Lovers of magical realism, take note. This must be one of the best books in the genre. I loved how Esquivel combines food, family dynamics and magical realism." — Resh (The Book Satchel)

2. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Dial Press Trade Paperback

This family saga spans three generations of the Trueba family, including the political patriarch, his magical wife, and their daughter, who — with her forbidden love — conceive Alba, an ambitious girl who may just be the saving grace of the family and their country.

Promising review: "Wow! If you look up 'epic family dramas, sweeping sagas,' you are sure to find The House of the Spirits at the top of the list. It's hard to capture what this book covers as it covers so much. I felt that there was so much heartbreak and tragedy in this story. But I kept thinking about this one....even when I was not reading it. It is beautiful. I wish that I could go back and start it all over again." — PorshaJo

3. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado

HarperTeen

Since getting pregnant during her first year of high school, Emoni Santiago has put her daughter first, sacrificing her dreams of becoming a chef along the way. But the kitchen is the one place she feels free from the pressure of responsibility, and once she starts cooking, her talent takes over and opens a door that she thought she had closed.

Promising review: "This was such a great read. So rich and vibrant, I felt like I could smell and taste each dish that Emoni made. She was an easy to character to love and root for and I enjoyed watching her journey throughout her senior year as a teen mom struggling to put herself first for once." — Hailey in Bookland

4. Carmelo by Sandra Cisneros

Vintage

Every year, Lala and the rest of the Reyes family travel from Chicago to Mexico City to visit "the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother." This summer, Lala is determined to discover why her grandmother is so awful, and as her life story unfolds, generations of family history, lies, and secrets are discovered.

Promising review: "This book is simply stunning. It's the most real book I have ever read, with exquisite lines and important truths that need to be told. This should honestly be mandatory reading for all." — Edith

5. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Vintage

In a series of vignettes, The House on Mango Street follows a young Latina girl coming of age and discovering her identity in Chicago.

Promising review: "This is my all-time favorite. It's short and poignant. You can read it quickly for sheer enjoyment, or you can dig your heels in and really take note of Latino culture. It's sweet, it's sad, it's a bit scary and funny; it's 100 pages or so of WONDERFUL!!" — Kayla

6. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Algonquin Books

Forced to flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father tried to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo, the García sisters — Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía — relocate to 1960s New York with their family. As the four sisters try to acclimate to American life, their parents work to hold onto their old ways and culture in this story about identity.

Promising review: "I thought it was a beautiful book — amazing writing, a believable and emotional story, and great characters. It really sucked me in and gripped me the whole time." — Brigid

7. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Algonquin Books

In 1960 in the Dominican Republic, the Mirabal sisters — also known as Las Mariposas, or the Butterflies — died fighting the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. In the Time of the Butterflies gives voices to the sisters and tells the story of their early lives, their loves, and the radical actions they took to overthrow Trujillo's regime.

Promising review: "I loved this fictionalized account of the lives and deaths of the Mirabal sisters. The author gives each sister a distinct voice and motivation for rebelling against the Trujillo regime. She makes them very human and flawed and I think that makes the reader really think about what can give a person the courage to stand up for what they believe. Highly recommended." — Viv JM

8. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Scholastic

On her family's ranch in Mexico, Esperanza lives a privileged life in a large home with lots of servants, surrounded by her family. But when tragedy strikes, she and her mother are forced to leave their home and flee to California during the Great Depression. Now working at a Mexican farm labor camp, Esperanza must quickly adjust to her new reality, which includes a strike for better working conditions and helping her ill mother survive.

Promising review: "This book is rich with ideas for great discussions on empathy, economics, labor unions, race relations, prejudice, rights, family, choices, hope, attitude, work, pride, and kindness. Make sure you keep tissues by as you read. I don't usually cry when reading, but this book brought my tears to the surface again and again, making it difficult to read aloud to my kids. It's a sweet book about hard work, love, and hope." — Jenny

9. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Knopf

Julia Reyes planned to leave her family in Chicago to go away to college, but perfect Mexican daughters don't do that. Perfect daughters stay with their family, like Julia's sister, Olga. But when Olga is killed in a tragic accident, Julia must stay and help put the pieces of her broken family back together. But, soon, she discovers that Olga wasn't as perfect as she thought.

Promising review: "Rarely do we find a voice so fully fleshed out, so human, so real. Julia Reyes will forever be in my heart and I want to know more about her journey after the end of this book." — Fred Slusher

10. When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Vintage

In this best-selling memoir, award-winning author Esmeralda Santiago writes about her life, from growing up in rural Puerto Rico to immigrating to the United States in New York, with her mother and numerous siblings.

Promising review: "There is really only one way to describe this book: vivid. When I Was Puerto Rican was such a vivid, engaging memoir. It was one of those books where the writing was so good that the story being told became 1000% more interesting." — Alysia

11. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Cinco Puntos Press

In a series of diary entries, Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year of high school, including her best friend's pregnancy, her father's drug addiction, her complicated relationship with her mother, her struggles with body image, and more — not to mention college applications.

Promising review: "What's not to love about Gabi, A Girl in Pieces? Not much that I can think of. This new book by Isabel Quintero is sassy, funny, heartfelt, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and unputdownable." — E. Anderson

12. Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Aunt Lute Books

In this collection of essays and poems, Gloria Anzaldúa uses her own background as a Mexican woman from Texas to comment on issues such as undocumented migrant workers, Aztec religion, women in Latin culture, lesbianism, and more.

Promising review: "I think I could read this book 10 more times and still learn more." — Mary

13. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Dial Books

Juliet Milagros Palante comes out to her family in the Bronx, then flies to Portland the very next day, leaving her family and mother to digest the news. Unsure if her mom will ever speak to her again, Juliet embarks on a new journey, including her dream job — an internship with her favorite author, who's an expert in feminism, women’s bodies, and everything in between.

Promising review: "This is such an important and fantastic novel. I devoured this novel in a few sittings, and this is one that will surely stick with you for a while. This is more than a story about being a lesbian and a feminist, this is a story about being true to yourself!" — Dani

14. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Del Rey

Instead of enjoying the excitement of the Jazz Age, Casiopea Tun is busy cleaning the floors of her grandfather's home in Mexico. Wishing for a new life all her own, Casiopea stumbles upon a dusty old box in her grandfather's room. Opening it unleashes the Mayan God of Death, who needs her help recovering his throne from his brother. Though scary and unknown, this adventure could make Casiopea's dreams come true.

Promising review: "Oh, my heart! So, so very good. This is an evocative and moving fairytale about a downtrodden girl, the Mayan God of Death, and how they find their humanity together. This book is highly addictive. Loved it! Highly recommend!" — Rebecca Roanhorse

15. Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García

Ballantine

Infused with magical realism, Dreaming in Cuban tells the story of how Celia del Pino and her family, spanning multiple generations over nearly 50 years, are affected by the Cuban revolution.

Promising review: "OMG, I loved this book! The story is great, but almost secondary to the writing. All the descriptions and magical realism here made me feel like words were blanketing me in sound and movement. You will taste and feel this book as you read it." — Quiltmom14

16. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Candlewick

Between balancing her honors courses, working a weekend job, and trying to learn about the father she never knew, Piddy Sanchez has enough on her plate. The last thing she needs is to be harassed by a bully for her light skin, lack of accent, and "not being Latin enough." But soon, Yaqui Delgado's harassment escalates and forces Piddy to confront not only her bully, but also things about herself.

Promising review: "WOW!!!! This book exceeded my expectations. It was honest and courageous. I stayed awake to finish this book and then couldn't fall asleep; it affected me so strongly. Meg Medina, you rock!" — Sue

Join BuzzFeed as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, and explore more content celebrating la cultura.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

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