Fiction

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

After coming out as a lesbian to her religious, Puerto Rican family, Juliet leaves the Bronx for the first time to take on an internship with a celebrity-status, feminist author in Portland. She arrives in this alien city characterized by a subculture of “hippie white” both elated by the prospect of living and learning with… Continue reading Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Affairs of the Falcóns

In the Affairs of the Falcóns, Rivero illustrates the complex politics and emotions at play within a single family trying to make their way as immigrants in a the US: the racism and classism within the Peruvian community, strained loyalties and the dissolution of marriages, children being raised as Americans but frequently reminded that they… Continue reading The Affairs of the Falcóns

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

Reading Mouthful of Birds feels like occupying some kind of hybrid world of dreams and folklore, where the subconscious masquerades as a stream of characters enacting scenes that aren’t fully coherent with reality, but every moment is vivid and visceral. The short stories are full of nightmarish scenarios, like someone auditioning to be an assassin… Continue reading Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Shaker Heights is the kind of community where garbage is stored always out of sight from the street, and every last detailed is planned, from the diversity of its population to the color scheme of each house. When a free-spirited artist, Mia, and her daughter Pearl move to town, their lives become entangled with the… Continue reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Infomocracy by Malka Older

An author and humanitarian worker, Malka Older’s novel Infomocracy comes at a pertinent time– when illegitimate information is being weaponized, and accuracy and transparency of data feels increasingly fragile. In Older’s utopian world of Infomocracy, Information with a capital “I” is glorified in a new world order. Here, groups of 100,000 people elect their own… Continue reading Infomocracy by Malka Older

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

In this debut collection of stories, Fajardo-Anstine weaves together an exquisite tapestry of Indigenous Chicana women. Set in modern Denver as gentrification morphs the landscape into something unrecognizable, the characters navigate an unrelenting world through sheer determination and lack of any other alternative. These are stories about displacement and female relationships—about physical realities that are… Continue reading Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Severance by Ling Ma

Candace is an aspiring photographer who thrives on the routine of her young professional life in New York City. She navigates the city in contented anonymity and plays her part as a competent and vital cog in the mass production of Bibles for publishing clients. As an epidemic of Shen Fever threatens the global population,… Continue reading Severance by Ling Ma

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

“I do not even struggle to speak; the spark of words dies so deep in my chest there is not even space to mount them on an exhale.” One thing I love about essay and story collections is seeing the recurring images and ideas that pop up throughout, like the weeds (or wild flowers?) of… Continue reading Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez tells the story of 12-year-old Anita, whose family joins the resistance against Dictator Trujillo in the Dominican Republic during the 1960’s. While coping with the early stages of puberty, Anita also grapples with the concepts of justice and freedom as General Trujillo, “El Jefe”, and the secret police terrorize her family. It’s a… Continue reading Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is a Black Lives Matter inspired novel about a 16-year-old girl seeking justice for her childhood best friend, Khalil, who is murdered by a police officer. Angie Thomas perfectly captures the teenage perspective of Starr Carter, who endures violence and trauma from a young age and is still learning what it… Continue reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

“The city was an edgy arrangement of cement particles and yellow paint. Signs prohibiting things thronged the streets, leading citizens to see themselves as ever protected, safe, friendly, innocent, proud, and intermittently bewildered, blithe, and buoyant; salt of the only earth worth knowing.” The novel opens with surrealist undertones as the main character, a young… Continue reading Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“The balanced valuing of emotion is certainly an act of self-respect. Even raw and messy emotions can be understood as a form of light, crackling and bursting with energy. We can use the light of rage in a positive way, in order to see into places we cannot usually see.”   Women Who Run with… Continue reading Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

 “There is nothing you cannot do when you are no one.”   Roxane Gay has a truly inspiring ability to write about sexual violence through the unfiltered, unapologetic voice of a survivor. In this novel, she details the unravelling of a woman after she is kidnapped for ransom in Haiti—the destruction of a woman’s body… Continue reading An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez

Of all of the coming of age stories I’ve read, this one is the first that made my heart swell with pride as I recognized bits myself in a young Mexican-American woman forging her identity in the uncharted territory of early adulthood. Julia is an emotional and short-tempered teenager who struggles to relate to both her parents… Continue reading I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

“The look on his face told her what had happened and that hurt burrowed deeper than anything she’d ever felt, deep enough to change from the thing she felt to the thing she was.”   A Constellation of Vital Phenomena follows a group of interconnected characters in a small village in Chechnya following the fall… Continue reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

The Sympathizer by Viet Than Nguyen

For someone with only a surface-level understanding of the Vietnam War and its impact (especially beyond the narrow scope of the white, counterculture movement of the American 1960’s that dominates this chapter in US history books!), this novel felt like such an important read. It tells the story of a French-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent navigating… Continue reading The Sympathizer by Viet Than Nguyen

Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris

“I don’t seek the permission of the Fates to find a soul mate with whom to deploy my melancholy; I can be alone, really alone, but I do ask the god of neural functions to let me retain this faint line of voice that crosses my cranium, allowing me to laugh at the world around… Continue reading Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris

The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez

One of my favorite reads of this year, The Circuit is a short  autobiographical novel that introduces readers to the life of a child migrant worker from Mexico. Jiménez writes from the perspective of his childhood self, free from judgment or analysis. For Panchito, living in a tent with his family of five is just… Continue reading The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez