8 Hispanic and Latine YA Authors You Should Definitely Read
With September comes National Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from September 15 to October 15 every year. This celebration aims to commemorate American citizens whose ancestors come from places like Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central/South America. And while I love reading and supporting Latine stories all year, I think this celebration is a great time to discover new authors and books! That’s why today, I want to do a roundup of eight great Hispanic and Latine YA authors that should be on your radar — if they aren’t already.
Each year, there are more and more Hispanic and Latine authors who publish YA books. There’s still a ways to go in the publishing industry to share and uplift Latine voices, of course, but I remember looking for Latine books when I was younger and finding next to nothing. So, I’m glad to say things have definitely changed. Either way, know that the authors mentioned here are by no means the only ones. There are many more Hispanic and Latine YA authors you can read out there sharing their own amazing stories! This list is by no means a complete or comprehensive account, but it’s a good place to start.
Without further ado, let’s get into eight Hispanic and Latine YA authors you should read.
8 Great Hispanic and Latine YA Authors
Anna-Marie McLemore is one of the most prolific authors on this list. They have written eight magical and queer novels — the last of which will be released in September 2022. It’s called Self-Made Boys and it’s actually a retelling of The Great Gatsby! But that’s not all. They have written stories for at least 10+ anthologies including Reclaim the Stars, Toil & Trouble, and A Universe of Wishes. Plus, they co-wrote Miss Meteor with Tehlor Kay Mejia. See? Prolific.
McLemore’s most popular book, according to Goodreads ratings, is their second novel, called When the Moon Was Ours, which won the Stonewall Honor Award and James Tiptree Jr. Award. It follows the story of BFFs Miel and Sam, the “weird” kids in town. Miel has roses coming out of her wrist, and her life takes a dangerous turn when the Bonner girls become convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love.
Emery Lee is a much newer YA author. So far, e has published two contemporary romances: Meet Cute Diary and Café Con Lychee. Emery also collaborated in the anthology All Signs Point to Yes, which is full of beautiful romantic stories with multicultural characters.
Eir 2021 debut, Meet Cute Diary, is a fake-dating kind of romance that is full of trans joy and complicated relationships. I couldn’t describe it better than author Aiden Thomas, who said the book is “both about, and for, helping transgender youth feel connected, seen, and worthy of not just an epic meet cute, but a happily ever after.”
Elizabeth Acevedo is an award-winning poet best known for her novels-in-verse such as The Poet X, which won the National Book Award and the Pura Belpre Award. It follows a girl named Xiomara, who is exploring her identity and her voice. The Poet X is her most popular book according to Goodreads, although Clap When You Land and With the Fire on High are also well-loved by readers. The latter even landed a movie deal when it was published in 2019, although there haven’t been any developments yet.
Besides her three novels, she has also published a poetry collection called Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths, a visual poem titled Inheritance, and even a journal inspired by The Poet X called Write Yourself A Lantern.
Crystal Maldonado is also a newer YA author. She has written two contemporary coming-of-age romances with LGBTQ+ rep and body positivity. The books are called Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and No Filter and Other Lies.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is her debut. Published in 2021, it won that year’s New England Book Award in the YA category. The story follows Charlie, a girl who wants a good relationship with her body — even if everyone around her wants her to be smaller, whiter, quieter. Her BFF Amelia seems to be the only one on her corner. When a boy named Brian asks her out and Charlie finds out that he asked Amelia first, things get messy.
Aiden Thomas is the first trans New York Times best-selling author thanks to their debut novel titled Cemetery Boys. It was published in 2020 and nominated for a bunch of awards such as the Lodestar Award. The story follows a young brujo named Yadriel, who accidentally summons the ghost of the school bad boy named Julian. Julian died under mysterious circumstances, and Yadriel has no choice but to help him find out the truth.
Besides Cemetery Boys, Thomas has written two books more queer and magical books: Lost in the Never Woods, a Peter Pan retelling, and The Sunbearer Trials, which is the first in a fantasy duology inspired by Mexican mythology.
Isabel Ibañez has written three magical fantasy novels since her debut in 2020. starting with Woven in Moonlight and its sequel, Written in Starlight. The former follows a Condesa named Ximena, who is on a revenge-fueled mission to overthrow Atoc — the usurper. Ximena is hunting for his ancient relic which will help her turn the tables. And it’s all inspired by Bolivian politics and history. The whole story is filled with magic, romance, and political intrigue. Much like her other novels.
Speaking of which, Ibañez also has a stand-alone novel titled Together We Burn — and has a short story featured in the Reclaim the Stars anthology.
Tehlor Kay Mejia
Tehlor Kay Mejia has written both YA and middle grade stories since her debut in 2019. Her main YA series begins with We Set the Dark on Fire, which won the Oregon Spirit Book Award. It follows a girl named Daniela Vargas in a dystopian society in which women are trained for household duties. It’s also a story about forbidden love and the fight for equality.
Tehlor Kay Mejia has also written the Paola Santiago middle grade series. And her work is featured in several short story anthologies, including Toil & Trouble, The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities, and Our Shadows Have Claws. Her next YA fantasy book is called Lucha of the Night Forest, and it will be published in early 2023!
Last but not least, Zoraida Córdova has also written adult and middle grade fiction. But her work is primarily YA — and she loves to write about magical creatures and mythology. Zoraida Córdova has actually published more than a dozen books in her career since she debuted in 2012 with a book about mermaids titled The Vicious Deep. Labyrinth Lost, the first in the Brooklyn Brujas series, is her most popular YA book. It follows a young bruja named Alex, who accidentally sends her entire family to the underworld — and now has to save them.
Zoraida has also written for the Star Wars universe, such as in A Crash of Fate. And she has contributed to several anthologies like Vampires Never Get Old, Come On In, From a Certain Point of View, and Reclaim the Stars.
Looking for even more Latine content this September (or anytime, really)? You can also check out more Latine authors, or some of the best books written by Latine writers!