Leaves are falling, sunflowers are blooming, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. Fall brings delicious snacks and the excuse to watch Over the Garden Wall.
But before Fall is officially on the calendar, there’s a special month-long celebration known as Latinx heritage month. Like many book bloggers, I’m going to dedicate this month to reading books by latinx/latine authors.
However, as we are on the eve of spooky season, I will also slip in some paranormal literature novels too.
Curious about the origins of Hispanic heritage month and why I emphasize this an Latinx celebration? Check out the page on the U.S government’s website.
*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if you complete a purchase through one of my links.
Hey book lovers! It’s that time of year again when the weather cools down, sweaters come out, and leaves begin to fall. But with the start of Autumn also comes the start of Latinx Heritage Month! In case you didn’t know, Latinx Heritage Month spans from September 15 to October 15 and if you need some ideas on what books to pick up this month, keep on reading.
As Latinx heritage month comes to a close I thought I would share my thoughts on the books I have read for this month.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Don’t Date Rosa Santos has a special place in my heart. I really loved this book because of it’s small town setting. Because Rosa grows up in Port Corral she knows everyone in town and is a very helpful neighbor. The small town in this book reminded me of Star Hallows and I hope to someday find a small town like this. Additionally, the fact that the love interest Alex is both a sailor and a baker made me just as happy.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
We Set the Dark on Fire is a book that I didn’t know I needed into my life until I read it. A dystopian, romance and spy narrative, We Set the Dark on Fire is all of these things. I really loved this because the main character Dani is such a bad bitch! Dani really tries to follow the rules of her society but when her husband decides he rather have a trophy wife and not an equal it really pushes Dani to turn against him. I really can’t wait to see what the next book has to offer.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Bruja Born is a book that I began reading at the beginning of the year was able to finish. Jumping back into this book was not difficult I love the world that Cordova has created and I will definitely read more of her books in the future.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Isabel Allende writing is beautiful and captivating. I loved the Trueba women in the house of the spirits especially Clara and her unknown dog/wolf/ mythical being hybrid Barrabas. That being said The House of the Spirits was not the book for me I really wanted to love this book and maybe I would have if Esteban wasn’t so much of a caca head.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Corazón was a book that felt like coming home. I loved Salgado’s descriptive writing and the little anecdotes of her daily life that she turns into poetry. I love the way that Yesika chose to share her corner of Los Angles with nostalgia and to what it is today.
After spending a whole month reading nothing but books written by Latinx authors I noticed that the border was a common theme between all these books. Even though Bruja Born and and We set the Dark on Fire are both fantasy novel there was still this presence of a border.
Although the border theme in Bruja Born is not presence in a way that one would conventional think. I argue that it is still very much presence. The supernatural creatures in this novel must not reveal themselves to humans, instead the brujas practice in secret. In this sense the Mortiz sister split themselves away from what they are as brujas in order to not draw attention to themselves. On top of that, the Mortiz family is latinx and also experience the struggles as people of color.
We Set the Dark Fire interweaves the border narrative into the novel with characters who have had to cross a border into Medio for better opportunities. However, during this crossing one of the characters witnessing something extremely traumatic while the other character remembers her own crossing and they both bond over it.
Rosa Santos lives with the small snippets that her grandmother has shared with her of Cuba and as she enters adulthood she dreams of one day visiting the Island that caused so much joy and sorrow for her family.
When a dictator takes control in Chile, Blanca and Pedro flee the country because it is no longer safe for Pedro, a communist sympathizer, to live there. Additionally, Alba is also given the opportunity to flee her country she decides to stay even though she is in danger as well.
Lastly, Salgado’s Corazón yearns for a El Salvador from her memories and a Silverlake before it was gentrified. Salgado remembers eating mangos in El Salvador and later eating them with her lover this common link between both countries is not coincidental. I believe Salgado links them together to highlight the longing for El Salvador.
This border theme is saddening and highlights that border trauma is something that runs through generations. After discovering this link between the novels I was reminded of Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. In this book, Anzaldua offers many great points that resonated with me but the one quote that has stuck with me is as follows:
Have you noticed this theme or other themes during Latinx heritage month? If so leave your thoughts below in the comments I would love to read them.
I try to stay away from dystopian novels for the most part because the plot in those books make me put on my tin foil hat, and there is only so much time in the day to follow a conspiracy trail through the internet.
However, We Set the Dark on Fire gave me a different kind of chill. The story follows Daniela Vega a recently graduated student of the Medio school for girls, in which young women learn to take on the role of the Primera or Segunda wife of their husband. Medio society practices polygamy in honor of their Sun God who married the Princess and the Moon Goddess. According to legend, the Sun God respected both of his wives and treated them equally although their titles of Primera, first, and Segunda, second, suggest a hierarchy the women are not in competition with each other.
Daniela is married off to Mateo Garcia, the son of the head of Medio’s military, and is poised to be the first wife of the Medio’s future president. Mateo’s second wife is none other than Carmen Santos, Daniela’s archnemesis.
Medio is on the brink of a rebellion. For years those living in border towns and the other side of the island have been mistreated. Their place in Medio society is very low. As a result, the rebellion group, La Voz has risen to fight against a government that oppresses them.
On the eve of Daniela’s graduation, La Voz attacks her school and makes contact with Daniela. Daniela was born on the other side of the Medio border and immigrating with her family to a border town. Later on Daniela’s parents bought her forged documents. Without Daniela’s forged documents, she would have never been considered to attend such a prestigious school. La Voz uses this to blackmail Daniela into becoming one of their spies. As events in the novel progress, Daniela starts to feel less guilty about betraying her country.
The plot of this novel is already very interesting, but the caramelo on top was the romantic subplot. After Daniela and Carmen marry Matteo, they go from enemies to friends to lovers. This is my all-time favorite trope, and it is well written in We Set the Dark on Fire. And by well written I mean there is angst and a slow burn romance.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I think the reason I ended up enjoying this novel so much, aside from the romance, was that the author embedded real issues that the Latinx community struggles with. The pain of bordering crossing, uprising against crooked governments, the prejudice of coming from the wrong side of a border, the guilt of having to succeed because if you don’t your parents struggle is wasted. I am glad these themes came up in this novel and were brought into the struggle of this fictional world. It made the characters and the experiences that much more real.
This is the second to last book on my Latinx tbr and soon I will be reading Yesika Salgado’s Corazon. I cannot wait.