20 Life-Altering Books by Latinx Authors Everyone Should Read

Add these to your list.

Updated 10/07/19
Original Graphic by Viviana Duron

Looking to broaden your literary horizon? Turn to our list of contemporary authors and classic titles to seek fresh perspectives and revel in the company of illuminating prose. From a coming-of-age story about two sisters growing up in '90s Colombia to a collection of poems that gracefully tackle the complexities of the Marian paradox, ahead are 20 compelling books by Latinx authors to add to your bookshelf or download now.

Here are our picks for the best books by Latinx authors you need to read.

01 of 20

Virgin by Analicia Sotelo

Virgin by Analicia Sotelo
Analicia Sotelo Virgin $16 $14
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Analicia Sotelo's semi-autobiographical poems introduce us to young Mexican American women navigating the complexities of girlhood, particularly drawing our attention to the tropes of innocence and corruption that inevitably come along with coming-of-age. "Sotelo mines the Marian paradox with complexity, grace, and power," writes Nick Ripatrazone of the poet's debut collection in a review for The Millions.

02 of 20

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
Luís Alberto Urrea The House of Broken Angels $27 $18
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Award-winning author Luís Alberto Urrea's latest novel delves into the American dream of one family, the de La Cruzes, a Mexican American clan spread across two countries divided by one border. The House of Broken Angels "stays with you, and it stands as a vital reminder of the value of fiction in defining the immigrant experience," writes Michael Lindgren in a review for The Washington Post.

03 of 20

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara
Joseph Cassara The House of Impossible Beauties $27 $17
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Joseph Cassara's highly anticipated debut novel is loosely based on the real-life House of Xtravaganza, the first all-Latin house that emerged on the New York City underground ballroom scene in the '80s. "Infused with glitz as well as heart, the story explores life as racial and sexual minorities—the pains and the triumphs, the grit and the thrills—in a way that feels personal, even for those who never walked the ballroom scene," writes Lauren Hubbard for Harper's Bazaar.

04 of 20

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Ingrid Rojas Contreras Fruit of the Drunken Tree $27 $14
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"When women of color write history, we see the world as we have never seen it before," writes Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street, on the back cover on Ingrid Rojas Contreras's debut novel. Set in '90s Colombia, Fruit of the Drunken Tree examines the terror inflicted on the South American country by Pablo Escobar from an oft-unexplored perspective—two young girls coming-of-age. "Ingrid Rojas Contreras honors the lives of girls who witness war," notes Cisneros. "I was swept up by this story," she adds.

05 of 20

Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez

Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez
Ivelisse Rodriguez Love War Stories $17
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"Love War Stories serves up love every which way: thwarted, obsessive, suffered over, delirious, consummated, unexpected," endorses Cristina García, author of Dreaming in Cuban. Ivelisse Rodriguez's stunning debut collection offers poignant insights into romantic expectations, including all the elation, heartache, and betrayal that can come with it.

06 of 20

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú
Francisco Cantú The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border $26 $16
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In The Line Becomes a River, Francisco Cantú, a former border patrol agent, writes about his harrowing experiences patrolling the divide between the United States and Mexico, including many that still haunt him to this day. Cantú "lays bare, in damning light, the casual brutality of the system, how unjust laws and private prisons and a militarized border have shattered families and mocked America's myths about itself," writes Lawerence Downes in The New York Times Book Review.

07 of 20

The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa The Neighborhood $26 $17
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Recently translated into English by Edith Grossman, Mario Vargas Llosa's political thriller navigates the scandalous world of Peruvian privilege. The Nobel Laureate's novel is a page-turner filled with unexpected twists that'll have you staying up all night reading. "Reminiscent of Pynchon's Inherent Vice in its use of genre fiction for higher purposes, this is an audacious and skillful novel," recommends Publisher's Weekly.

08 of 20

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits
Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits $14
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Prolific author Isabel Allende's first novel, The House of the Spirits, follows the peaks and valleys of the Trueba family. Patriarch Esteban is hungry for political ascension. Clara, his wife, has a mysterious connection to the spirit world. Their daughter, Blanca, embarks on a forbidden love affair. Yet Alba, their granddaughter may be the key to the family's, and the country's, future.

09 of 20

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Sabrina & Corina book cover
Kali Fajardo-Anstine Sabrina & Corina $24
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Heritage, home, and abandonment are throughlines in Kali Fajardo-Anstine's debut story collection that places indigenous Latinas as protagonists. The backdrop to these stores is Denver, Colorado and each story follows our protagonists as they move through its equally majestic and challenging landscape.

10 of 20

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli book cover
Valeria Luiselli Lost Children Archive $14
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In Lost Children Archive, a family road trip across America clashes with an immigration crisis in the Southwest. Their final destination, as they set off from New York, is Apacheria, where the Apaches once called home. As the family travels West, the novel compels readers to consider themes of justice and equality in modern times.

11 of 20

The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada

The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada
Selva Almada The Wind That Lays Waste $10
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A storm is brewing in rural Argentina, and, as if by an act of God, a Preacher and his restless daughter run into car trouble. They take refuge in the home of an aging and mildly apathetic mechanic and an idealistic young boy, and as the storm comes to pass, proximity forces everyone to unpack their beliefs.

12 of 20

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros book cover
Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street $10
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The House on Mango Street follows young Chicana (Mexican American) Esperanza Cordero through a series of vignettes. Over a year, we follow Esperanza's move into a new, yet run-down home in a Latino neighborhood on Mango Street, and the bright and dark life moments that offer readers a glimpse into the person she wants to be.

13 of 20

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago book cover
Esmeralda Santiago When I Was Puerto Rican $5
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In her memoir, Esmeralda Santiago reveals the many lessons she will learn, including the eternal question of 'Who am I?' when she is uprooted from her childhood home in rural Puerto Rico. Now in New York with what will be her 10 other siblings, Esmeralda must balance family obligations and coming-of-age in an unfamiliar place.

14 of 20

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez book cover
Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude $10
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In the genre of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is an enduring classic. The story follows seven generations of Buendías through life and death, incest, poverty, war, and a good dose of the supernatural.

15 of 20

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

How The García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez book cover
Julia Alvarez How the García Girls Lost Their Accents $13
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Four sisters must find their way in a new land as they transition from the life they knew in the Dominican Republic in 1960, to their new lives in New York. Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia straddle two worlds—the old ways gripped by their parents, and the American new.

16 of 20

Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón

Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón book cover
Daniel Alarcón Lost City Radio $13
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The consequences of civil war leaves a nameless South American city with many missing loved ones. For a decade, Norma's role as host of Lost City Radio, broadcast from the mountains to the barrio, helps reunite those who've disappeared. Then, Norma receives a clue that may lead her to the whereabouts of her missing husband.

17 of 20

Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet

Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet book cover
Jennine Capó Crucet Make Your Home Among Strangers $15
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Lizet, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, has barely begun her freshman year at a top-tier university, where she struggles to navigate social and academic worlds as a minority, before tumult begins. Meanwhile, an unexpected arrival at home in Miami and a subsequent immigration battle thrusts the city, and her family, into the spotlight.

18 of 20

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel book cover
Guadalupe Nettel After the Winter $13
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It is human nature to favor connection, even it's over a common denominator such as death. After The Winter flits between Paris, New York, and Havana to follow Cecilia, fascinated by funerals, and her ailing neighbor. Claudio meets Cecilia during a visit to Paris and lives transform, for better and worse.

19 of 20

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez book cover
Juan Gabriel Vásquez The Sound of Things Falling $13
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This is the story of how everyday Colombian lives were irrevocably altered by the drug trade and the time of drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Readers follow law professor Antonio Yammara as the psychological trauma he and rest of his generation suffered in 1980s Bogota comes to a head following a drive-by shooting.

20 of 20

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel book cover
Laura Esquivel Like Water for Chocolate $12
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A love story wrapped in tradition and magical realism, Tita and Pedro are in love, but as the youngest daughter of the Mexican household, her role is of her Mother's caretaker. To stay close to Tita, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura as readers embark on tragedy, luck, and fate to reunite the unrequited pair.

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