This was a great year for Latino authors, with newcomers like Patricia Engel receiving critical acclaim and established authors like Isabel Allende returning to classic form.
Check out our picks for the five best books of 2010!
Next Slideshow: Four Books to Read this Fall
Vida by Patricia Engel
This collection of nine stories shows us the world from protagonist Sabina’s point of view. Although nothing particularly fantastic (or terrible) happens to Sabina, Engle fantastic writing helps us remember that wonderful stories can be spun from even the most mundane of childhood memories. From her foolhardy 20s, in Miami and New York to her adolescence in the suburbs, Engle keeps engaged in the life of this daughter of Colombian immigrants and rooting for her all the way.
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Teenage Lucia thinks that the Cuban revolution has nothing to do with her and prefers to obsess over an upcoming dance until she witnesses the brutal public hanging of her father’s boss. The family is separated as Lucia’s parents send her siblings to the United States, where the former child of privilege winds up in a foster home in Nebraska. Based on the true story of Gonzalez’s parents, this first novel captures the heart-wrenching affects of the hard choices families are sometimes forced to make.
Drowning Tucson by Aaron Michael Morales
This debut novel captures the desperation of people trapped by poverty and violence. Set in the rough and tumble neighborhoods surrounding Tucson, the book tells various stories of characters struggling to survive. Although the violence makes some stories tough to read at times, the cinematic language sucks you into this neighborhood. Comparisons to Richard Wright’s Native Son are well deserved.
Stay with Me by Sandra Rodriguez Baron
This story about the meaning of family and history follows five adults with mysterious pasts. When five toddlers are found in a luxury boat docked in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane, no one knows where they come from or who they are. When one of them is diagnosed with brain cancer, his determination to find out where they all came from may wind up destroying their life-long bond.
The Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
This story from legendary author Allende tells the story of a mulatto slave named Zarité who follows her master Valmorain from Haiti to New Orleans when he flees the uprising in 1791. Allende departs from magical realism to tell a rather straightforward tale of history, love, betrayal and the power of women and in the process navigates complicated relationships between master and slave with impressive grace.