We’re nearing fall, and during this season, I look forward to new television shows, films, and books. We’ve been lucky to have so many fabulous releases this year, a lot of them penned by Latina authors. For your next TBR (to be read) book, I want to suggest five great Latina authors you should know about, as well as their must-read 2021 books.
Mexican-Canadian author Silvia Moreno-Garcia knocked it out of the park with the creepy New York Times bestseller Mexican Gothic and has followed it up with her latest, Velvet Was the Night. The noir novel is set in 1970s Mexico City and follows a secretary, her neighbor who mysteriously disappears, and the man, employed by a “shadowy figure” who is also trying to find her. You can count on Moreno-Garcia to deliver can’t-put-down, other-worldly reads such as Gods of Jade and Shadow, The Beautiful Ones, and Certain Dark Things. In addition to writing novels, she also writes short stories and is both an editor and publisher.
Dominican-American author Naima Coster released her latest book, What’s Mine and Yours, in March of this year, and it became an “instant New York Times bestseller.” The story revolves around students Gee (Black) and Nicole (half Latina, half-white), whose worlds (and families) come together when their community in the Piedmont of North Carolina begins to integrate the majority-Black and majority-white high schools. Coster’s debut novel Halsey Street was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. In addition to writing novels, she also has published essays in publications including the New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, and Elle, and is affiliate faculty at Antioch University, in the low-residency MFA program.
Argentinian author Romina Garber writes best-selling YA books that transport readers into fantastical worlds, while also dealing with real-life issues. New York Times bestselling novel Lobizona introduces us to Manuela Azul, an undocumented immigrant in Miami, whose mother gets arrested by ICE. Following a clue takes her into another world, filled with “werewolves, cursed cities, and illegal magic.” The follow-up to Lobizona, which also incorporates Argentinian folklore is Cazadora, released this August. Once you find out what happens with Manuela Azul, you can check out Romina Garber’s Zodiac series.
Of Women and Salt has made plenty of best of 2021 book lists. The debut novel by Cuban and Mexican author Gabriela Garcia tells us the story of three generations of Cuban women across Cuba, Mexico, and Miami, and how betrayals, life decisions, and mother-daughter relationships have shaped it all. In addition to this stellar debut, Gabriela has a number of published short stories and poetry in publications including Iowa Review, The Best American Poetry 2019, and Tin House.
On her author website, Puerto Rican Crystal Maldonado describes herself as “a young adult author with a lot of feelings.” These feelings, along with Maldonado’s talent, have resulted in the fabulous YA novel Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. Charlie Vega is a “fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb,” and must navigate growing up while being encouraged to look and act completely different from herself. If you like Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, you won’t have to wait long for another Crystal Maldonado book – No Filter and Other Lies comes out in February 2022.