Sal and Gabi Break the Universe: a review

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Description:

How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany’s locker? When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.

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Lima :: Limón: a review

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Description:

In her striking second collection, Natalie Scenters-Zapico sets her unflinching gaze once again on the borders of things. Lima :: Limón illuminates both the sweet and the sour of the immigrant experience, of life as a woman in the U.S. and Mexico, and of the politics of the present day. Drawing inspiration from the music of her childhood, her lyrical poems focus on the often-tested resilience of women. Scenters-Zapico writes heartbreakingly about domestic violence and its toxic duality of macho versus hembra, of masculinity versus femininity, and throws into harsh relief the all-too-normalized pain that women endure. Her sharp verse and intense anecdotes brand her poems into the reader; images like the Virgin Mary crying glass tears and a border fence that leaves never-healing scars intertwine as she stares down femicide and gang violence alike. Unflinching, Scenters-Zapico highlights the hardships and stigma immigrants face on both sides of the border, her desire to create change shining through in every line. Lima :: Limón is grounding and urgent, a collection that speaks out against violence and works toward healing.

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American Dreamer: a review

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Description:

No one ever said big dreams come easy

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food or of Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.

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Upcoming Spring ’19 Book Releases by Latinx Authors & Illustrators

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(banner that says “Latinx Spring Reads 2019” on top, @boricuareads under the 2019, and in the bottom there are book covers with leaves and stems under them to simulate flowers)

The snow is starting to melt, the trees are looking green again, flowers are beginning to welcome sunshine and showers…

Here? It’s gonna get hotter as Easter approaches, with more people bathing at the beach and more tourists starting to arrive for their Spring Breaks. That’s right, Spring is around the corner. The time between Spring and Summer is my favorite, as it’s cool enough for me to wear cool jackets and but also hot enough that we don’t have to wear coats (I mean, I don’t have to wear coats at any given time here, but I’m being empathetic for those going through harsh winters and who are waiting for Spring to arrive).

It also means it’s time to bring a new list to your lives, or, what I’ve dubbed “#Read&Latinx.” We’ve had Summer 2018 (#ReadLatinx), Fall 2018 (#2Read2Latinx), and Winter ‘18-19 (#ReadLatinx:Winter Drift) to prepare for this monster list. 

Curating these lists is both a joy and a curse, seeing as I’d like to buy every single book but I know that can’t be feasible (I’m both broke and unemployed). Working on these posts is my way to give back to a community of writers that can be often ignored by a community of readers as well as publishing at large when they’re not given ample publicity in comparison to many hegemonic writers.

In any case, I’m proud to present over 70 books that will be releasing between February 15th and May 31st, 2019. It consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx authors. The list will be divided by age category (Picture Books, MG, YA, or Adult) as well as genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Anthology) and subgenres (Literary, Contemporary, Fantasy, etc.) Each of the books listed will have the title, the name of the author/illustrator, its release date, and a short description written by yours truly. Each category is sorted by release date. Books marked by an asterisk (*) are ones I don’t know their official release date or don’t have enough information about.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know!

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The Moon Within: a review

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[image description: graphic that reads “boricuareads reviews: The Moon WIthin by Aida Salazar” with the book cover in the center over a yellow and red background]

Description:

Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.

But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?

A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.


Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review: 

(cw for post: menstruation talk, mention of misgendering and transphobia) Continue reading “The Moon Within: a review”