List of the Week: Hispanic YA Leads


We’ve gotten a lot of requests over the past week for books with Latino / Latina / Hispanic YA leads. So we decided to double the size of the normal list and give you 20 can’t miss YA books with Latino / Latina / Hispanic leads.

more happy than not adam silveraIn Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not, memory is an option. The Leteo Institute offers a memory-relief procedure, and while Aaron could use it, he certainly doesn’t believe it works. But then Thomas shows up – sweet Thomas, kind Thomas – and Aaron realizes that, no matter how he pretends, he can’t stop being gay. So he decides the Leteo Institute can help him “straighten” out.

Joyride by Anna Banks follows Carly Vega works at a convenience store to save money and get her parents back from Mexico. Arden Moss was a star quarterback who lost it all after his sister died.


Corinne Duyvis’ Otherbound is about Nolan, a disabled teenager who sees through the eyes of a girl named Amara every time he closes his eyes. Amara lives in a different world – a fantastical world – where she is designated with the responsibility of protecting a lost princess.

There’s also Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince. In futuristic Brazil, June Costa creates art in Palmares Tres, but when the new Summer King Enki wanders into town, June doesn’t see an enchanting man – she sees a fellow artist. But every Summer King is destined to die, and Enki is no different.

In Yaqui Delagado Wants To Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, Piddy Sanchez doesn’t know who Yaqui Delgado is. But apparently he hates her and wants to kick her ass because she isn’t Latin enough.

Matt de la Pena’s Mexican White Boy is about Danny, who is the best pitcher around. But since he’s half-Mexican, nobody thinks he can do anything; and since he thinks it’s his fault his dad was sent back to Mexico, Danny decided to spend the summer with his dad’s family.

Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry follows good girl Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes, who are forced to work together on a science project. He is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.


Aristotle’s brother is in prison. Dante is a know-it-all. In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, the two loners meet at a swimming pool and begin to bond.

In the fantasy world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Elisa is the chosen one. She becomes the secret wife of a king who needs her to save her kingdom – but he’s not the only one who wants her abilities.

Marie Marquadt’s Dream Things True follows Evan, a wealthy Southern boy, who falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl named Alma. It was a YA Editors’ Buzz Book choice at BookExpo America this year.

dream things true marie marquadtThe much-loved Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero is a story written in diary format with poetry spliced in. Gabi Hernandez documents her last year of high school in her diary.

In The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, Jude knows that the Vargas brothers are nothing but heartbreakers. But she’s the only sister left at home, and Emilio Vargas is helping to fix her father’s vintage motorcycle. Unless her sisters are wrong, she’s destined for some heartbreak.

The Living by Matt de la Pena follows Shy, who is only weeks out at sea on a new job when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed. The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it’s a fight to survive for those left living.

Jessica Martinez’s Kiss Kill Vanish follows Valentina Cruz, who no longer exists. She abandoned her old life and identity after she witnessed a murder, ordered by her father, executed by her boyfriend. But she can’t run from the truth.

Coming out this September, The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore follows two rival and feuding families. Lace Paloma believes that the Corbeaus are lack magic themselves – but when she meets Cluck Corbeau in the midst of a disaster, Lace finds her belief may be wrong.

In The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Matteo Alacran is a boy harvested from the DNA of El Patron, lord of Opium.

Based on a true story, The Queen of Water by Laura Resaur is about a girl named Virgina, who is taken from her home in Ecuador to be a servant to a mestizo couple.

The Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall is a retelling of The Odyssey with Odila and her four sisters. The girls set out on a treck to their grandmother’s house and are forced to outsmart various magical creatures along the way.

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo follows Nora, who stays behind when her father leaves Mexico in search of work. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora and her mother decide to go find him in Texas.

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena is about Miguel, who was sent to juvi. Since his mom can’t stand him, it suits Miguel just fine, but he didn’t expect to meet new friends. Or to break out out jail.

list of the week hispanic ya leads

More YA books with Latino / Latina leads can be found at Latinos in Kidlit, an amazing resource dedicated to reviewing and collecting YA books with Latino / Latina leads.

What books would you add to the list? Sound off in the comments below!

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.


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