Hispanic Heritage Month: YA Fiction

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed between September 15th and October 15th. To celebrate, I had fun putting together a list of books by Hispanic authors. This month, I read American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott. Surprisingly, the road trip itself is a fairly minor part of the storyline, which contains so many layers that it’s difficult to write a spoiler-free summary, but here goes…

Teodoro Avila puts no effort into academics, and his family life is tense due to the absence of his older brother Manny, stationed in Iraq. In preparation for Manny’s return, Teodoro and his sister, Xochitl, make a heroic effort to turn things around. When Manny shows signs of PTSD, Xochitl devises a summer project designed to help Manny improve his mental health. All summer, the three siblings struggle toward achieving their own goals. While Manny’s mental health situation is serious, the family’s perseverance maintains a hopeful tone. A sweet and hilarious romance between Teodoro and childhood friend Wendy Martinez lightens the mood. I finished this book quickly–always a good sign–but found that the story stuck with me for days afterward.

More titles to honor Hispanic Heritage Month:

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry
Grades 7 and up
OverDrive: eBook
Hoopla: eBook
“The four Torres sisters have fascinated the boys in their San Antonio neighborhood for years. Each with her own quirky personality, they all suffer from the suffocating hold their widower father has over them. While attempting to sneak out, Ana, the oldest, fatally falls from a tree. A year later, her angry spirit begins to haunt their home.” –Kirkus Reviews

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
Hoopla: eBook
“Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez has a lot to deal with during her senior year. Her best friend Cindy is pregnant; her other best friend Sebastian just got kicked out of his house for coming out to his strict parents; her meth addict dad is trying to quit, again; and her super religious Tía Bertha is constantly putting a damper on Gabi's love life. In lyrical diary entries peppered with the burgeoning poet's writing, Spanglish, and phone conversations, Quintero gives voice to a complex, not always likable but totally believable teen who struggles to figure out her own place in the world.” –School Library Journal

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Grades 10 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“After Griffin and Theo break up, after Theo moves to California for college, and even after Theo finds a new boyfriend in Jackson, Griffin continues to believe that they’ll end up together. Then Theo drowns, and all that’s left for Griffin is their fugitive history together…But will Griffin, who is so stuck in the past, find a future?” –Booklist

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Nora Lopez is 17 in 1977 when New York City faced one of its most horrific summers in history. A serial killer called Son of Sam was on the loose, shooting innocent couples; the city faced a blackout complete with looting; and arson was rampant…Just when Nora's fear and panic peaks, she meets new hire Pablo.” –School Library Journal

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Grades 10 and up
OverDrive: eBook and digital audiobook
“Camino Rios lives in the Dominican Republic and yearns to go to Columbia University in New York City, where her father works most of the year. Yahaira Rios, who lives in Morningside Heights, hasn't spoken to her dad since the previous summer, when she found out he has another wife in the Dominican Republic. Their lives collide when this man, their dad, dies in an airplane crash with hundreds of other passengers heading to the island. Each protagonist grieves the tragic death of their larger-than-life father and tries to unravel the tangled web of lies he kept secret for almost 20 years.” –Kirkus Reviews

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
Grades 7 and up
OverDrive: eBook
Hoopla: digital audiobook
“Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them.” –School Library Journal

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: digital audiobook
“After attending both high school and community college for the last two years, it is time for Florida teen Rosa to pick a four-year college, and she has made the perfect choice: one with a study abroad program in Cuba. For most students, this would be an exciting adventure, but for Rosa, it's personal. Her grandmother left the island as an exile and will not entertain the idea of going back, while Rosa longs to understand the place her family came from.” –Kirkus Reviews

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Grades 7 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Mega City appears to be the only urban center left standing after a massive earthquake known colloquially as the Big Shake, a place where ideals of a feminist utopia have devolved into gang violence, economic inequality, rampant drug addiction, and callous objectification of men. In this world of toxic femininity, Nalah, better known as Chief Rocka, leads a group of teen girls in patrolling the streets and pursuing an elusive dream of residing among the elite.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves
Grades 9 and up
OverDrive: eBook
“Marcos Rivas's mother doesn't care about him and never has. She allows her racist boyfriend to abuse the 15-year-old and spends her money on vodka instead of replacing Marcos's holey sneakers and tattered T-shirts. A checked-out mother isn't the only challenge facing the teen, who is growing up in the impoverished neighborhood of Maesta. Marcos typically doesn't even try at school; with no one to believe in him, why would he believe in himself?…Slowly, Marcos begins to realize that while the people you think should care the most might fail you, there are others who won't. A group of quirky and loyal friends and a couple of supportive teachers ultimately provide what his mother cannot: a sense of family and the inspiration to try.” –School Library Journal

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Teens, Library News, and Teens.

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