Magic | Realism | More

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Whether the author uses a pan-ethnic term such as Latino or Hispanic to describe their identity, or by their family's Hispanic origin group, the rich history of literary tradition (often, but not always, with hints of the fantastic) shines brightly in all of these stories.

  • Sabrina & Corina: Stories

    2019 by Fajardo-Anstine, Kali

    Kali Fajardo-Anstine presents a meditative exploration of the lives of indigenous Latina women in this beautiful collection of short stories. Although much of the book is heart-wrenching, love and hope radiate throughout each story. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Cemetery Boys

    2020 by Thomas, Aiden

    This culturally rich fantasy young adult novel will keep you entertained throughout. It’s fast-paced and has many likeable characters. You won’t be able to stop rooting for a happy ending for the male leads—especially when one of them is sort of...not so alive anymore. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Dominicana

    2019 by Cruz, Angie

    A novel about immigration to New York City. Finally, we get to read a searing first-hand account of a Dominican woman who is not only imprisoned in the patriarchy of culture but also in the inequality of the capitalist United States in the 1960s. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Lost Children Archive

    2019 by Luiselli, Valeria

    One of my favorite books of 2020, it takes stylistic risks with uncanny poise and a border/immigrant narrative ripped from the headlines that's still deeply personal, compassionate, and harrowing. Plus, it has one of the great endings of the last few years. Recommended by Chris.

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  • You Had Me at Hola

    2020 by Daria, Alexis

    Although this book is technically a romantic comedy, one can feel the strength of Latine and Hispanic pride on every page. With a great cast of characters and an entertaining storyline, this is a great read, especially for fans of romance. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir

    2019 by Moraga, Cherríe

    Cherríe Moraga is a seminal figure in the history of queer literature, feminist literature, Chicana literature, and just plain good literature, and she's long been someone I admire, so I quickly scooped up Native Country of the Heart. It is, ostensibly, a memoir of her own mother's life and death, but along the way Moraga connects this very personal story to the story of the borderlands themselves—to history, identity, and belonging—in the largest sense. Recommended by Mary.

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  • The House of Broken Angels

    2018 by Urrea, Luis Alberto

    A deeply personal work that has resonated with its readers. Publisher's Weekly calls Urrea's novel a "vital, vibrant book about the immigrant experience." Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Queen of the Cicadas: La Reina De Las Chicharras

    2021 by Castro, V

    This novel combines Mexican folk tales and legends with the history of Texas. Be warned that this is a horror novel, and a gruesome one at that, but it so tightly paced that you might want to read the whole thing in one sitting. A fresh twist on some well-known horror tropes for those who love the genre but are looking for an original take. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Book of Lost Saints

    2019 by Older, Daniel José

    Visited by an ancestral spirit who would have him unearth family secrets from the Cuban Revolution, a young Cuban American embarks on an investigation marked by ghostly helpers, a new love, a murderous gangster, and changes in his sense of identity. The descriptions of Cuba (both past and present) are completely transportive. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Julio's Day

    2013 by Hernandez, Gilbert

    A lovely graphic novel that quietly follows the life of a closeted man, focusing on small moments in the course of his 100-year life. Near perfect. Recommended by Chris.

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  • 2666

    2008 by Bolaño, Roberto

    I'm not gonna lie. Both Bolaño's Savage Detectives and 2666 have been staring me down from my bookshelves for a little over a decade now, since I first purchased both during the author's posthumous feeding frenzy of acclaim in the late aughts. I'll get to them yet. Join me! Recommended by Chris.

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  • Don't Date Rosa Santos

    2019 by Moreno, Nina

    Don’t let the fact that this book was written for teens keep you from reading it as an adult. This Cuban-American novel has all the best aspects of a rom-com: humor, misunderstandings, romance with an attractive tattooed boy. It combines those with important themes like family, grief, and loss—all wrapped in rich Latinx culture and a magical South Florida setting. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Fever Dream

    2017 by Schweblin, Samanta

    The English-language debut of Argentine novelist Samanta Schweblin. Kirkus called Fever Dream "A taut, exquisite page-turner vibrating with existential distress and cumulative dread." Writing for The New York Times, Concepcio de Leon included Fever Dream in a selection of books "that are reshaping Latinx literature" and "bound to live on as classics." Recommended by Chris.

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  • Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

    2021 by Maldonado, Crystal

    Hands down one of my favorite books I've read this year and definitely a book I wish existed when I was a teen. Absolutely delightful. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Next Year in Havana

    2018 by Cleeton, Chanel

    Heartbreakingly hopeful and politically insightful, this is a beautiful story of both romantic and familial love. It takes place in two time periods, 1959 and almost 60 years later, and Cleeton did such a wonderful job with her writing that you can almost feel the warmth of Havana’s sun as you flip through the pages. And if you enjoy this book, don't forget about her other works: When We Left Cuba and The Last Train to Key West. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived along the Border

    2018 by Solis, Octavio

    A series of gorgeously written vignettes about the events, moments, traumas, and transformations that filled Solis's childhood in the east side of El Paso, Texas. The Chicano playwright has a gift for shaping these “holy memories” to bring to life a spare, evocative existence of the working class. Bravo! Recommended by Mary.

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  • Labyrinth Lost

    2016 by Córdova, Zoraida

    This book is full of magic. It takes a fascinating and beautiful tradition of life and death and turns it into a compelling story in a captivating world. It also has a wonderful, multi-dimensional cast of characters whose friendship and love will make you root for them in their journeys. Recommended by Penny.

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  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

    2017 by Sánchez, Erika L.

    Heartfelt and honest, this coming-of-age story tackles difficult issues with nuance and depth. This book shines in presenting the story of many Mexican-American immigrants in an authentic way while providing a close look into Mexican culture. Recommended by Paul.

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