From personal journeys to woke fiction, here are some kick-ass reads that will move your spirit and motivate your life for 2017!
1. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
“I would die for my children. I would kill for my children. But I couldn’t stop drinking for my children.” In her heartbreakingly honest book, Elizabeth Vargas takes us behind the scenes of her life as a high-functioning alcoholic, her failed marriage and long battle (and eventual triumph) with alcohol. A must-read for those (and friends and family of those) struggling with addiction.
Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction by Elizabeth Vargas, $19, barnesandnoble.com
2. My Underground American Dream
By all accounts, Julissa Arce was success personified. She came from humble beginnings in San Antonio, Texas to rise to being vice president at Goldman Sachs—but all along she held an overwhelming secret: she was an undocumented immigrant. Arce’s unbelievable (and at times heart-wrenching) tale sheds an important light on the overly persecuted and often-misunderstood world of undocumented immigrants.
My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce, $17, julissaarce.com
3. My Voice
Kids of hip-hop will go crazy over the “voice of New York’s” unbelievable behind-the-scenes stories, from interviewing Tupac just before his death to helping launch Jay Z's career to being thrown a babyshower by Mariah Carey and fighting in a bathroom with Wendy Williams. A fun and inspiring read, Martinez shares her voice so we can find ours.
My Voice by Angie Martinez, $17, amazon.com
4. Juliet Takes a Breath
"I'm a messy, over-emotional, book nerd, weirdo, chubby brown human and I needed to learn how to love myself, even the shameful bits." This remarkable coming-of-age story about a lesbian teenaged Puerto Rican from the Bronx who summers in Portland, Oregon is a hilarious and resonating read to Latinxs everywhere.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, $17, barnesandnoble.com
5. Inspirational Books by Latina Authors: In The Country We Love My Family Divided
OITNB star Diane Guerrero was just 14 years old when she came home after school to find her parents gone: they were deported. What’s worse, no one from social services ever came to check on her—she had fallen between the cracks. In a harrowing tale of tragedy to triumph, Guerrero paints a real picture of the effects of our flawed immigration system yet gives hope on what we can do to fix it.
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero, $16, barnesandnoble.com
6. 32 Yolks
Famed Afro-Latina writer Veronica Chambers has become a master celebrity book collaborator, and her latest partnership with a four-star world-renowned chef Eric Ripert elevates a simple chef’s biography to a nuanced and touching work of art.
32 Yolks by Eric Ripert with Veronica Chambers, veronicachambers.com
7. Las Imperfectas
The debut novel by the Puerto Rican writer and editor is a hilarious, spiritual and thought-provoking read. Broken up into 10 stories from Latinas of all ages and backgrounds, it celebrates the beautiful and blissful imperfections that unite as women.
Las Imperfectas by Cristy Marrero, $12, lasimperfectas.com
8. Self Made
Part biography, part self-help, Latina icon and entrepreneur Nely Galán shares her story as the daughter of Cuban immigrants who became the first female President of Entertainment for Telemundo. With personal insights (“There is no Prince Charming coming to save you”) to actionable advice (“Find the hidden money in your home”), Galán shows you how to hustle with heart.
Self Made by Nely Galán, $12, amazon.com
9. Never Too Real
A sophisticated and Latina take on Sex and the City, "Never Too Real" follows four powerful Latinas in NYC as they face career pressures, family crises and sexual adventures, all bound by a fierce friendship that supports, loves, and accepts them exactly as they are.
Never Too Real By Carmen Rita Wong, $10, carmenrita.com