Top 10 Latina Summer Beach Reads

Planning on hitting the beach or taking a nice, extended vacay this summer? Is the only thing missing from your bag a perfect beach read? Well, look no further because we've collected the best new books by Latino authors. Check out the list, pick out a book, and kick back for some of most enjoyable reading you can find. 

1. 2010 Summer Book List: The Firefly Letters

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle

Although this novel is meant for young adults, most chicas will find something relatable in the tale (based on real historical events) of Swedish suffragist Fredrika Bremer, who spent three months in Cuba and realized that women are oppressed in similar ways the world over. 

2. 2010 Summer Book List: The Madonnas of Echo Park

The Madonnas of Echo Park: A Novel by Brando Skyhorse

In Skyhorse’s debut novel, he maps the vibrant neighborhood of Echo Park, a Mexican American enclave in Los Angeles, CA. Told from myriad perspectives, the story centers around the family of Aurora Esperanza and a tragic death and illustrates the richness and variety of experiences of Mexicans in America.

3. 2010 Summer Book List: Beautiful Maria of My Soul

Beautiful Maria of My Soul by Oscar Hijuelos

Twenty years in the making, this sequel to Hijuelos’s Pulitzer Prize winning tome, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, tells the story from the point of view of original feisty heroine Maria. Trapped between two men, a penniless musician and a powerful businessman, Maria tells the story of the Cuban revolution from her perspective.

4. 2010 Summer Book List: Island Beneath the Sea

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende’s return to historical fiction is a lyrical and moving tale of Zarité. Known as "Tete," she's a slave who flees to New Orleans with her conflicted “master” Toulouse Valmorain on the eve of the Haitian revolution. Exploring the trauma of slavery and complex nature of freedom, Allende illuminates the complicated racial and sexual dynamics of Haiti and New Orleans.

5. 2010 Summer Book List: Waking Up in the Land of Glitter

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Written by well-known arts and crafts blogger Kathy Cano-Murillo (the original crafty chica) this fictional book focuses on Estrella "Star" Esteban. After making a big mistake, Star has to fight to save the family's business and her relationship with her boyfriend. Seeking redemption, she signs up for a national craft competition and forms unlikely alliances along the way.

6. 2010 Summer Book List: Into the Beautiful North

Into the Beautiful North: A Novel by Luis Alberto Urrea

Taqueria worker Neyali comes to the startling realization one day that her sleepy Mexican town of Tres Camarones has been abandoned by all the men who once lived there, leaving the town and it’s women vulnerable to attacks from the narcos. In between helping her aunt become the first female mayor and working at the restaurant she hatches a plot to smuggle seven men in (ala The Magnificent Seven) to help protect them.

7. 2010 Summer Book List: Try to Remember

Try to Remember by Iris Gomez

This is the second novel from renowned poet and immigration lawyer Iris Gomez, and she mines her incredible life experiences to tell this tale of a Colombian family that immigrates to Florida in the 1970’s. Told from the perspective of young Gabriela De la Paz, this novel charts her development from fearful teen to confident and able young woman.

8. 2010 Summer Book List: The Husband Habit

The Husband Habit by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Out this summer on paperback, the sixth novel from Chica lit originator Valdes-Rodriguez is just as much fun as you would expect! Vanessa Duran can’t seem to find a good man who isn’t otherwise “committed.” After a string of liars and cheats, Duran makes a promise to her sister to take a break from dating, and—of course—promptly meets the man of her dreams.

9. 2010 Summer Book List: No Place for Heroes

No Place For Heroes: A Novel by Laura Restrepo

Hitting shelves on July 21st, this second novel from Laura Restrepo follows a mother who heads back to Argentina with her teenage son in search of his father, who she was separated in the aftermath of the Dirty War. Former revolutionary Lorenza uses the trip to try to make her son understand the world in which he was conceived, but he may be too far removed to ever truly understand what his parents experienced.

10. 2010 Summer Book List: The Insufferable Gaucho

The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolaño and Chris Andrews

Available in English translation on August 31, 2010, this collection of short works by the legendary author Roberto Bolaño provides a glimpse into the controlled yet totally unpredictable mind of the deceased author. Although these stories are short, somehow Bolaño seems to fit a whole novels worth of detail and thought into a fraction of the pages.

11. 2010 Summer books: Related Links