Summer is a time of long, lazy afternoons in backyards or on back porches, sprawled out on beach towels or napping behind sunglasses, of traveling on trains and buses and airplanes, and long stretches of sitting en route to somewhere else. The best companion for both warm afternoons and quiet days is a book. Below, check out a list of seven recent releases by Latinos and Latin Americans that should make excellent traveling companions and a good way to while away hot summer afternoons.
Ivelisse Rodriguez's Love War Stories
This collection of short stories takes the happily-ever-after that so many girls are raised to long for, and turns them not into fairy-tales but into a war zone, describing the intergenerational cycles of love and violence that spiral out of that quest. While you may have to wait for a little to get it – the book is available July 10 – it’ll be absolutely worthwhile.
Sergio de la Pava's Lost Empress
Sergio de la Pava is a public defender in New York, and he uses his professional chops to write a kind-of-crime novel, kind-of-family saga, and kind-of-a-sports book. The work bounces between two equally compelling narratives: One of a criminal mastermind working his way through the justice system while plotting a new caper, and the other focusing on the disinherited daughter of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys planning her vengeance. The book is big, and full, and wild, and both a whole lot of fun and a reflection on social justice and the criminal system.
Zoraida Cordova's The Brooklyn Brujas Series (Labyrinth Lost & Bruja Born)
If you’re itching to get your hands on a larger reading project for the summer, try out Zoraida Cordova’s Brooklyn Brujas series. While Bruja Born came out earlier this year, starting with last year’s Labyrinth Lost will get you started on the lives of the Mortiz sisters. Bruja Born will let you keep up with their adventures, all in anticipation of next year’s finale to the trilogy. With a heavy dose of magic from Caribbean and Latin American folklore, tightly paced plots, and emotionally centered storytelling, these are fun, absorbing reads that will carry you through your vacation and beyond.
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo's Cenzontle
If your taste for reading materials over the summer drifts to poetry rather than fiction, Cenzontle is a great place to start. The book slips between borders, categories, and voices, much like the author himself. Telling the story of a border crossing, and the masks necessary for keeping a queer, undocumented brown body safe in an increasingly hostile America, Hernandez Castillo has written a gorgeous, moving book.
Roque Larraquy's Comemadre
Two Latinx Frankenstein stories in mirrored opposition to each other – one a medical enquiry into the line between life and death, another an artist, trying to (literally) objectify himself. The result is a strange, wild story-slash-philosophical-meander along the lines of art, life, love, and death.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras's Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Fruit of the Drunken Tree centers around two girls from completely different social classes in Bogota at the height of its violence under Pablo Escobar. All about first love and coming-of-age in a turbulent time, the book honors the lives and stories of women that are rarely told, all in beautiful, heartbreaking prose.
Julián Herbert's Tomb Song
Tomb Song is a sprawling tale that all spins around the reflections of a man at his mother’s deathbed. Herbert uses lyrical innovations to tell the story of an artists’ coming-of-age in a tone by turns both crude and tender. Both semi-autobiographical and all-unreliable, this English-language debut, translated by Christina MacSweeney, presents an exciting new voice.