Cinco de Mayo | Book List

2:06 PM



Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honour of my Mexican roots I've decided to create a list of books that have Mexican characters and/or culture within them!

I haven't read a ton of books with Mexican characters but when I do I appreciate reading Mexican culture and I can connect with the story, which always gets me thinking why don't I read more books with Mexican characters!?

I don't know of a lot of books with Mexican characters and most buzzed books and books in the media don't have Mexican character as main characters. However, the online book community is vocalizing for more diverse books and we're slowly getting them. So what I need to do is dedicate time to look for those books with Mexican characters and culture. I think it's important to read about different culture and going forward I'll be looking out for more Mexican (Latino) characters.

I've read some of the books listed below but not all. The ones I haven't read are on my reading list, I just haven't gotten to them yet. Please let me know if you know of any books with Mexican or even just Latino main characters, I'd love to have them on my radar.

Perfect Chemistry Series by Simone Elkeles


   

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: 2008/2010/2011 (Original pub dates)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (CA/US)
Reviews: http://alexatalksbooks.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-perfect-chemistry-simone-elkeles.html, http://alexatalksbooks.blogspot.ca/2016/02/rules-of-attraction-by-simone-elkeles.html
Summary:
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. 

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart


Mexico: Stories by Josh Barken

Genre: Short Stories, Fiction, Crime
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Crown/Archetype (CA)/Hogarth (US)
Summary:
The unforgettable characters in Josh Barkan’s astonishing and beautiful story collection—chef, architect, nurse, high school teacher, painter, beauty queen, classical bass player, plastic surgeon, businessman, mime—are simply trying to lead their lives and steer clear of violence. Yet, inevitably, crime has a way of intruding on their lives all the same. A surgeon finds himself forced into performing a risky procedure on a narco killer. A teacher struggles to protect lovestruck students whose forbidden romance has put them in mortal peril. A painter’s freewheeling ways land him in the back of a kidnapper’s car. Again and again, the walls between “ordinary life” and cartel violence are shown to be paper thin, and when they collapse the consequences are life-changing.

These are stories about transformation and danger, passion and heartbreak, terror and triumph. They are funny, deeply moving, and stunningly well-crafted, and they tap into the most universal and enduring human experiences: love even in the face of danger and loss, the struggle to grow and keep faith amid hardship and conflict, and the pursuit of authenticity and courage over apathy and oppression. With unflinching honesty and exquisite tenderness, Josh Barkan masterfully introduces us to characters that are full of life, marking the arrival of a new and essential voice in American fiction.

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

Genre:Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: May 8, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins (CA)/Katherine Tegan Books (US)
Summary:
A promise.
Quinceañera.
A promise that we would be together on my fifteenth birthday . . .

Instead, Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. She fights to make sense of her loss while living in poverty—waiting for her father's return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Now, Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her precious quinceañera.

Bettina Restrepo's gripping, deeply hopeful debut novel captures the challenges of one girl's unique yet universal immigrant experience.



Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekarna

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group (CA)/G.P Putnam's Sons (US)
Summary:
Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-thirties. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother--the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being--she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child. 

Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lillian Rivera

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (CA)/Simon & Schuster (US)
Summary:
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.


THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot 
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. 

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.


*Disclaimer I am not positive what type of Latina the main character of The Education of Margot Sanchez is but I felt I should include it anyways. 


The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication Date: September 1, 2002
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (CA/US)
Review: http://alexatalksbooks.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-house-of-scorpion-nancy-farmer.html
Summary:
This modern classic takes on an iron-fisted drug lord, clones bred for their organs, and what it means to be human. Winner of the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors.

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster—except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.
 

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