Along with summer come long days at the beach, or laying out in the park, and there’s nothing better for making laying around look productive than a book. Here are 10 of our picks by Latino and Latin-American authors for your summer reading list.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (Arthur A. Levine Books)
Sierra Santiago is your average Brooklyn teen, looking forward to spending the summer sitting on stoops, spending time with friends. But when strange things start happening in her neighborhood, she is inducted into the underground world of the Shadowshapers, a mysterious organization that uses the street art of New York to battle evil. The series is full of magic, teens that talk like, you know, real teens, and a gripping plot full of magic and darkness. Best of all, if you end up picas, the second book in the series, Shadowhouse Fall, will be out in September.
2666 by Roberto Bolaño (Picador)
Summer is a perfect time to take on project books – that loooong read that’s too heavy to carry around in your bag might make the perfect distraction for week three at your wifi-less abuela’s place. Bolaño’s 2666 is a 1,000-page book about femicide, literary criticism, boxing, border towns and the end of the world – a book that doubtless would have been even longer had the author not died. It is also a classic, praised by everyone from Oprah to The New York Times, and a gripping read for all one thousand of its pages.
Editor’s note: the author of this article works for 2666’s original publisher, Farrar Straus & Giroux.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
While Benjamin Alire Sáenz has been a writer of both children and adult books for a minute, he didn’t really become widely known until 2012’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which had an audiobook narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda and won about a million children’s lit awards. Inexplicable Logic is his followup to that smash hit, and has many of the same elements that made that book great – a character in the midst of a kind-of-painful coming of age, close friendship, and an extremely good dog.
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera (& Other Stories)
Herrera’s third book published in the U.S. falls into line with the other two books in his “trilogy” – The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World. All three are haunted by a sense of coming doom in an already apocalyptic landscape, and a need to outrun the (even more) bad things coming. Kingdom Cons touches on art, justice, and narcocorridos in gorgeous, inventive prose, translated here by Lisa Dillman.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen)
In the mood for a YA that mixes near-future sci-fi, queer romance, and a lot of heartbreak? More Happy Than Not is the book for you. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a really sad book, but that kind of makes the beach the perfect place to read it.
Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Books)
If your summer reading preferences tend more towards the non-fiction side, Tell Me How It Ends from rising Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli combines the journalistic and the personal to create a deeply affecting narrative of the child migrant crisis in the U.S.
Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya (Mandel Villar Press)
For an adrenaline rush without ever having to leave your beach blanket, Wicked Weeds is a pulse-pounding zombie novel that uses the Haiti-Dominican Republic border as the setting for a story that questions as much as it spooks.
Camanchaca by Diego Zúñiga (Coffee House Press)
An incredible road trip novel – and an incredible novel to take along on your road trip. The book is a quiet meditation on family, a novel pieced together from recollections and the strange scenery of the Atacama desert. This is Chilean author Diego Zuniga’s first book, and it has already garnered tremendous praise from outlets here and around the world.
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (Riverhead Books)
Be sure to stay well-hydrated while you read this one – the prose itself mirrors a fever dream, strange, hallucinatory, and unsettling. It’s a short novella, one you can take in in a single, lazy afternoon, but one that will stay with you for weeks afterwards.
Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet (St. Martin’s Griffin)
This book is a perfect summer read for you, or for you to slip to your prima who is about to start her freshman year of college. Lizet is a first-generation college student at a fancy Northeastern school, and her parents back home in Miami are far from pleased. In her first semester, Lizet has to figure out how to leave home – and how to get back to it.