Skip To Content
    May 14, 2020

    13 Books To Read After You Watch Gentefied

    Done with Gentefied? Here are some books to read while you wait for season 2.

    Gentefied has everything: Love, identity, big dreams, and cousins dragging each other when they mess up.

    Netflix

    Gentefied is a Netflix original show that follows three cousins chasing the American Dream in their changing neighborhood of Boyle Heights, CA. When their family-owned taqueria is in danger of being evicted by fine-ass Wilmer Valderrama, the family does everything they can to give the taco-shop the chance to compete with the hipster market. But their efforts, though noble, are not always rewarded. What follows is high family drama that is as sure to make you laugh and break your heart.

    1. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

    Dial, Via goodreads.com

    Release date: Sep. 17, 2019

    What it's about: Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. After she outs herself to her parents and takes an internship across the country with her author idol, Harlowe Brisbane, Juliet is ready to learn from someone she admires. The problem is that as woke as Harlowe thinks she is, her experience erases Juliet's existence. The summer introduces her to an exploration of queer and brown love, and a brand of feminism in which she can see herself. In Gentefied, Ana so badly wants to be an artist and have her work recognize. She's gay and has to face criticism from her mother and her community. When she's taken under the wing of Tim, a white entrepreneur "modernizing" the neighborhood, it causes some serious backlash in her own community.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes & Noble for $16.49, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    2. Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Aniste

    One World, Beowulf Sheehan

    Release date: Apr. 2, 2019

    What it's about: This National Book Award nominated collection puts indigenous Latinas at the heart of the stories. Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s debut is haunting in the way it weaves the past and the present. "Sugar Babies" is one of my favorites and deals with ancestry and the things that are uncovered when families dig into the past. The entire Morales family of Gentefied deals with this as their roots are being displaced by development.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.64, Barnes & Noble for $17.00, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    3. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

    Little, Brown, Via ualr.edu

    Release date: Mar. 6, 2018

    What it's about: Luis Alberto Urrea has spent a lifetime writing about the people of the Mexican-American border in poems, essays, and fiction. The House of Broken Angels is about the de la Cruz brothers Big Angel and Little Angel. Anticipating his last days, Big Angel summons the de la Cruz family for one last hurrah. Then, his mother of a hundred years old dies. Now a double cause for celebration, this is not the family reunion expected. Especially since Little Angel, the half gringo brother has returned. Urrea writes about the stories that are lost with generations.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Barnes & Noble for $14.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    4. Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

    Button Poetry, Via melissalozadaoliva.com

    Release date: Sep. 26, 2017

    What it's about: Peluda is a collection of poems about femininity, immigrants, and classism. Peluda means "hairy," and many of the poems are about the shame of being hairy, or being brown, of being. The poem "Maybe She's Born With It, Maybe She Got Up Early" was about the mark where I was openly weeping while reading this emotional collection. Stories of mothers who work until their bones are weary reminds me of Ana's seamstress mom, who toils under inhuman conditions, often operating on the American Dream of it all.

    Get it from Bookshop for $12.88, Barnes & Noble for $14.00, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    5. The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

    Viking, Via celiacperez.com

    Release date: Aug. 22, 2017

    What it's about: One of the scene-stealers of Gentefied is Nayeli, one of the youngest Morale cousins. While the adults are trying to adult, she is observing. And she breaks all the rules. A book that embodies her attitude is The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez, about twelve-year-old Malú who is unapologetically herself, even if she has to break her new school's dress code by wearing Chuck Taylors and being rock and roll. Malú follows the first rule of punk: be yourself. When she assembles a group of misfits to start a band, she will fight the right to express herself and her music.

    Get it from Bookshop for $8.27, Barnes & Noble for $7.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    6. Bird of Paradise: A Memoir by Raquel Cepeda

    Atria, Via celiacperez.com

    Release date: Mar. 5, 2013

    What it's about: After losing her estranged father, Raquel Cepeda attempts to piece together her ancestry through her DNA. Born in Harlem, raised in the Dominican Republic and Manhattan, Cepeda retraces everything she knows about her past in order to make peace with her father.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.64, Barnes & Noble for $17.00, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    7. Delicious Complication by Sabrina Sol

    Entangled Publishing, LLC, Via sabrinasol.com

    Release date: Sep. 26, 2017

    What it's about: If you love the adorable, and insufferable, chef Chris Morales, then you'll eat up Delicious Complication by Sabrina Sol. Restauranteur-playboy Brandon Montoya and event planner Daisy Robles hate each other. But after a night of too many tequila shots, that hate turns into a make-out session that hits the tabloids. But the media backlash turns into a two-week engagement of convenience. Despite their rules, Brandon and Daisy can't deny that their hate is simmering into love.

    Get it from Bookshop for $14.99, Barnes & Noble for $14.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    8. American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

    Carina Press, Via adrianaherreraromance.com

    Release date: Mar. 4, 2019

    What it's about: Nesto Vasquez has six months for his Afro-Caribbean food truck gamble in Upstate, New York to work out. Meanwhile, Jude Fuller's quiet life is upturned when he meets Ithaca's most-talked-about food truck owner. Soon, there's mad for each other. But first, they must overcome their past in order to build a future. Queer brown love worthy of Gentefied's Yessika Castillo.

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $4.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    9. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

    One World, Bella Newman

    Release date: Mar. 24, 2020

    What it's about: Gentefied is about a Mexican-American family who has three generations in the United States. But there is also a deep narrative about the immigrant experience in the background. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio's The Undocumented Americans traveled all across the country to gather the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants. From the workforce hired to clean up 9/11 to botanicas in Miami, Cornejo Villavicencio sheds light on unseen Americans.

    Get it from Bookshop for $23.40, Barnes & Noble for $23.49, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    10. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir by Cherríe Moraga

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Via cherriemoraga.com

    Release date: Apr. 2, 2019

    What it's about: Cherríe Moraga's work as editor of This Bridge Called My Back is iconic. Her latest work is a memoir that traces her mother's life alongside her own coming-of-age. Her mother's life goes from picking cotton in California, to being a cigarette girl in Tijuana, and culminates with a woman dealing with Alzheimer's. Moraga's narrative uncovers her family's story of Mexican diaspora while composing a love letter to her mother's past. Perfect for the complicated relationship depicted between Ana Morales and her own mother.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.64, Barnes & Noble for $17.00, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    11. Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez

    Simon & Schuster, Patri Hadad

    Release date: Mar 5. 2019

    What it's about: Erik Morals is one of the best characters in Gentefied. He is a book love, a Li' Bro if you will. With a baby on the way, he's faced with having to grow up and be the dad he never really had. That core narrative is embodied in Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez. Juan has plans to get out of El Paso, Texas. His bff JD has dreams of becoming a filmmaker. After a series of screw ups that Juan can't seem to avoid, he discovers a letter from an inmate on death row who might just be the father he's believed to be dead. Juan and JD get in a car — Thelma and Luise style — and embark on a road trip that will change their lives.

    Get it from Bookshop for $11.03, Barnes & Noble for $11.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    12. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

    Simon & Schuster, Lilith Ferreira

    Release date: Feb. 21, 2017

    What it's about: Running a shop is no joke. The Morales cousins clash on everything like modernizing the decor and the menu. They have to choose between their loyal clientele and trying to get new business. Similarly, the titular character of The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera has to work at her family's struggling grocery store. After using her dad's credit card to buy a new wardrobe, Margot is grounded and paying off her debts. Everything she's worked for is slipping out of her hands. But nothing, not even the handsome neighborhood boy, Moises, is going to stop her from getting to the ultimate beach party. Pretty in Pink but set in the South Bronx.

    Get it from Bookshop for $11.03, Barnes & Noble for $11.99, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    13. Corazón by Yesika Salgado

    not a cult, LLC, Via yesikasalgado.com

    Release date: Mar. 01, 2018

    What it's about: The last episode of the season is the culmination of so many ~emotions~ and storylines. They all deliver and I was wrecked. I experienced a similar catharsis when reading the poetry collection, Corazón by Yesika Salgado. I dare anyone to read a single poem without feeling like they've been turned inside out. Each verse is about the hunger for love, life, and self.

    Get it from Bookshop for $13.80, Barnes & Noble for $13.50, or your local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Want great book recommendations in your inbox every week? Sign up for the BuzzFeed Books newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form