May is National Latino Books Month to read and celebrate books written by and for Latinos.
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña. With a Mexican father and white mother, Danny has never felt like he fits in. When he's in his predominately white neighborhood and school, he's just that Mexican kid, but when he goes down to National City to spend the summer with his father's family, he's the white kid.
Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos. Set in the last '60s, He's sick of being beat up for his looks. He's sick of the kids at his school venting their frustration at whitey on him. When his friend Jimmy becomes a serious junky, Rico decides it's time to take a cue from Huck Finn, and runs away to a buddy's farm in Wisconsin. He blends in there, but it's still not the escape he thought it would be.
Fifteen Candles by Veronica Chambers. Four South Beach teens have an idea to start a business planning quincenaras, but it turns out to be harder than they expected. They're not sure their first party will actually happen. They're even less sure that they'll still be friends by the time it does. The first in the Amigas series, follow it with Lights, Camera, Quince!.
The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales. Safia tells stories of growing up in the barrio of McAllen, TX and her close-knit family and community. These are the things she misses when she wins a scholarship to boarding school.
A Good Long Way by Reñe Saldaña, Jr. One night, Beto comes home late (again) and gets in a fight (again) with his father, waking up his younger brother. Roel is torn between wanting to be cool and tough like Beto, but also wanting to excel in school. After the fight, Beto runs away, staying with his friend Jezzy, a tough girl who's run away before. Told in Beto, Roel, and Jezzy's voices and taking place over the course of a day, this is quick and engrossing read.
Estrella's Quinceañera by Malin Alegria. Estrella's mother is planning the biggest, tackiest, most awful quincenera ever-- a party Estrella doesn't want, especially as it doesn't fit in with her new image at her new school full of rich white kids.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Esperanza Cordero is growing up poor in Chicago. Told in short vignettes of her childhood and teen years, this slim novel introduces us to a character we'll never forget. This is one of those books that's taught in school that teens will actually enjoy reading.
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Freshman year, Lupita's mother gets uterine cancer. Despite the fact that she's the oldest of eight, Lupita and her mother have a close relationship and it grieves her to see her vibrant and wonderful mother struggle with the disease. This verse novel follows Lupita through high school and beyond, and we see her and her family deal with her mother's illness.
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano. In 1969, The Young Lords create in uprising in Evelyn's Spanish Harlem neighborhood. The fight spills into her own home, as Evelyn's grandmother supports the Young Lords, but her mother does not, with Evelyn caught in the middle.
This is no where near comprehensive, but what are your favorites that I missed? Leave a comment!
Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.