Hispanic Heritage Books for Teens

Acevedo, Elizabeth

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people... In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance -- and Papi's secrets -- the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Acevedo, Elizabeth

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Álvarez, Noé

Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple-packing plant alongside his mother, who "slouched over a conveyor belt of fruit, shoulder to shoulder with mothers conditioned to believe this was all they could do with their lives." A university scholarship offered escape, but as a first-generation Latino college-goer, Álvarez struggled to fit in. At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O'odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four-month-long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. He writes not only of overcoming hunger, thirst, and fear--dangers included stone-throwing motorists and a mountain lion--but also of asserting Indigenous and working-class humanity in a capitalist society where oil extraction, deforestation, and substance abuse wreck communities. Running through mountains, deserts, and cities, and through the Mexican territory his parents left behind, Álvarez forges a new relationship with the land, and with the act of running, carrying with him the knowledge of his parents' migration, and--against all odds in a society that exploits his body and rejects his spirit--the dream of a liberated future.

Garza Villa

Nonbinary teen Ander is ready to leave their family's taquería and focus on their art, but when Santi, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, begins to work at the restaurant, the two teens spark a romance made complicated by immigration police.

Maldonado, Crystal

Overweight sixteen-year-old Charlie yearned for her first kiss while her perfect best friend, Amelia, fell in love, so when she finally starts dating and learns the boy asked Amelia out first, she is devastated.

McLemore, Anna-Marie

Three teens chase their own version of the American Dream during the Roaring 20s in this YA remix of The Great Gatsby.

Méndez, Yamile Saied

Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers' wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

Novoa, Gabe Cole

On Mar León de la Rosa's sixteenth birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn't enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father, and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar's father and the entire crew of their ship. When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up their soul to save their father by the harvest moon, or never see him again. The task is impossible--Mar refuses to make a bargain, and there's no way their magic is a match for el Diablo. Then Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate--and the captain's son; and Dami, a gender-fluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption--or it could mean certain death.

Prado, Emilly

FUNERAL FOR FLACA is an exploration of things lost and found--love, identity, family--and the traumas that transcend bodies, borders, cultures, and generations. Emilly Prado retraces her experience coming of age as a prep-turned-chola-turned-punk in this collection that is one-part memoir-in-essays, and one-part playlist, zigzagging across genres and decades, much like the rapidly changing and varied tastes of her youth.

Reyes, Sonora

Sixteen-year-old Mexican American Yami Flores starts Catholic school, determined to keep her brother out of trouble and keep herself closeted, but her priorities shift when Yami discovers that her openly gay classmate Bo is also annoyingly cute.

Rivera, Gabby

Juliet, a self-identified queer, Bronx-born Puerto Rican-American, comes out to her family to disastrous results the night before flying to Portland to intern with her feminist author icon--whom Juliet soon realizes has a problematic definition of feminism that excludes women of color.

Rivera, Lilliam

A modern retelling of the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice, in which Eury leaves Puerto Rico for the Bronx, haunted by losing all to Hurricane Maria and by evil spirit Ato, and meets a bachata-singing charmer, Pheus.

Rivera, Lilliam

Three Latinx teenagers struggle to deal with encounters with an alien, and try to warn the world of the possibility of an alien invasion.

Sáenz, Benjamin Alire

A story set on the American border with Mexico, about family and friendship, life and death, and one teen struggling to understand what his adoption does and doesn't mean about who he is.

Sánchez, Erika L.

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

Stork, Francisco X.

Hector has always worked hard and minded his own business. He wants to be captain of his school's chess team, go to college, and help his family make [its] way to a better life someday--until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother Chavo is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he's going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector's death hangs over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows, to drop off Joey's radar, to become no one. But when a fight between Chavo and Hector's brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand.

Thomas, Aiden

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.

Torres Sanchez, Jenny

Three teenage immigrants risk the trip from Guatemala through Mexico to the United States southern border in search of a better life.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.