The 9 Best Books of the Year by Latino Authors!

The start of a new year is quickly approaching, which means today is the perfect time to reflect and take inventory about those things that have impacted us most in the past year.

What could be more influential than the written word? With their perfect prose, carefully crafted characters, superb storytelling skills, and Latin influence, Latino authors have created some incredible works of both fact and fiction that we have intellectually devoured. Keep reading for a list of our top 9 must-reads of 2012; we're sure you'll come across a few of your favorites, and perhaps you’ll feel inspired to run to the nearest bookstore or biblioteca to pick up the rest! 

1. Best Books of 2012: Have You Seen Marie?

Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros, the critically acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, penned another literary masterpiece for readers to consume. Cisneros’ newest achievement, Have You Seen Marie?, debuted in August of this year to the delight of her many fans. The story follows Sandra, a 53-year-old dealing with the recent loss of her mother, on an expedition to find her friend Roz’s cat, Marie. For Sandy, this search for a missing cat ultimately transforms into a search for herself and for love. Cisneros modeled Sandy’s journey after her own personal experience following the death of her mother. What makes this book especially unique, though, are the full-color illustration that accompany the text, like a children’s book for adults!

Have You Seen Marie? is available on

2. Best Books of 2012: This Is How You Lose Her

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz offers up stories of love, lust, longing, and heartbreak in his latest book, This is How You Lose Her. Dominican male character Yunior is the driving force that connects Díaz’s intensely feeling short stories that help to chronicle Yunior’s life. Each chapter carefully peels back Yunior’s self in an effort to reveal the true core of his being to the reader. Several of the stories were previously published in The New Yorker, but are given new life in this book. Memorable characters and an infusion of Spanish throughout the text make this a must read for Latinas everywhere.

This is How You Lose Her is available on

3. Best Books of 2012: A Wedding in Haiti

A Wedding in Haiti by Julia Alvarez

After wildly successful novels like How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Times of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez changes pace with A Wedding in Haiti, a memoir about her relationship with Haitian farmer Piti. As a Domincian hailing from the much wealthier of the neighboring countries, Alvarez’s friendship with Piti is unusual. The poignant tale follows Alvarez on two trips that she takes to Haiti, the first in 2009 for Piti’s wedding and the second in the summer of 2010 after the horrific earthquake. The author recounts those things she witnesses that most deeply affect her and, of course, the bond that can be formed in the most unlikely circumstances. 

A Wedding in Haiti is available at

4. Best Books of 2012: Aleph

Aleph by Paulo Coelho

Brazilian best-selling author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho wows readers once again. Audiences searching for a personal journey about finding happiness within themselves while learning to overcome life’s many difficulties should look no further than Aleph. Paulo feels stuck in a rut and uninspired, so he makes the decision to travel the Trans-Siberian railroad. Along this journey of rediscovery, he encounters a young woman, travels through both time and space, and in the end finds those things that he was missing most. 

Aleph is available at

5. Best Books of 2012: Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration

Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement, by Vanessa Pérez Rosario

This text presents culture-seeking readers with the history and influence of Latino writings in the United States. It dives into 150 years worth of stories and themes such as race, sexuality, gender and migration through a Hispanic lens. Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement is perfect for the historian, the intellectual, or anyone committed to learning more about their roots through writings.

Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement is available at

6. Best Books of 2012: Chicanas of 18th Street

Chicanas of 18th Street by Leonard G. Ramirez et al

For the headstrong females out there, this is a great read. Chicanas of 18th Street follows the community activism of 6 women living in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s. It is full of personal accounts of crucial moments during this time period for Chicanas with regard to acculturation, immigration, education, and other important discussions. Learn about the battle and complexities these females faced in an effort to create change.  

Chicanas of 18th Street is available at

7. Best Books of 2012: All That Glitters

All That Glitters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

In All That Glitters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, beautiful Latina Mackenzie imagines that there must be more to life than what her future currently seems to hold, which is a lackluster career as professional cheerleader and a marriage to a self-involved football player. Powerful, African American sports agent Zora is also dissatisfied with her current life. When Zora becomes a kind of mentor to Mackenzie, the two stumble into a friendship through which they can find strength and success in career, love, and life.

All That Glitters is available at


8. Best Books of 2012: From Macho to Mariposa

From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction by Charles Rice-Gonzalez and Charlie Vazquez

Dozens of gay Latino writers from all over the United States came together for the publication of From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction. Though the stories may take many different forms through the voices of many people, they all center on those themes that are essential to the human experience like family, friends, happiness, loneliness, pain, neglect, sex, and love. The tales are woven together in a way that touches on the differences but more importantly highlights those similarities that create unshakable bonds. This is a must read not just for gay Latinos, but for anyone of the human persuasion.

From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction is available at


9. Best Books of 2012: Everyone Leaves

Everyone Leaves by Wendy Guerra

Wendy Guerra’s part fact, part fiction autobiographical novel Everyone Leaves was recently translated into English so that a wider audience might be privy to the plight of those facing life in Castro’s Cuba. Written in diary format, readers are welcomed into the most private pieces of main character Nieve Guerra’s life. It is a bildungsroman novel that reveals a life full of family turmoil and political unrest that, for many all over the world, is all too familiar.    

Everyone Leaves is avilable at