Young-Adult Lit by Latina Authors
ONE OF THE FIRST BOOKS I read as a teen was C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was transported into a fantastical world that could occur by simply walking through your closet, or so I wanted to believe. At the time I was an extremely shy young girl living in a housing project in the South Bronx, New York. Lewis’s book was my ticket to a wondrous space where I could imagine the “what ifs” of my life.
With current news reading more and more like a realized dystopia, I surprisingly still gravitate toward reading futuristic and fantastical worlds in young-adult fiction. They are not only my escape, but they usually interpret real-world issues through a speculative lens. My next novel, Dealing in Dreams, is set in a near-future world where girl gangs rule the streets, but it is also about family and finding a home, by any means. It is not lost on me how so many people of color are just battling to find a place in this world.
Whether the setting is in Brooklyn or outer space, the following young-adult books by Latina authors will transport readers to examine societal issues while being entertained with imaginative prose.
Romina Russell has created a vast and epic world with her Zodiac series. I would start with the first book, Zodiac, as she introduces a world of warring astrological houses.
Set in Brooklyn, New York, Zoraida Córdova has created an empowering story where young Latinas have magical powers. Bruja Born is the second in the Brooklyn Bruja series and the strongest.
Another epic fantasy novel, in Ruined Amy Tintera introduces a compelling character in Emilina Flores, a young girl in a world of magic who has none. Nonetheless, we root for her as she becomes a skilled warrior.