Best-Sellers by Latine Authors Worth Reading in 2023

why didn't you tell me carmen rita wong illegally yours rafael agustin you sound like a white girl julissa arce lighter yung pueblo neruda ont he park cleyvis natera

Latine authors in the United States have made notable contributions to American literature and played a vital role in representing the experiences and perspectives of Latino communities. They have have also written best-selling books.

Coming from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds and often writing about their experiences as immigrants, their work has helped to enrich and diversify the literary landscape in the U.S. Their ability to tell stories that are often underrepresented in mainstream media, gives voice to the diversity of experiences that exist despite the tendency of mainstream media to lump the entire Latine community into one non-existing monolith.

These five best-selling books by Latine authors released in 2022 accomplish exactly that - the dismantling of the mythical Latine monolith. They each do a deep service to the community by adding their unique stories about what the American-Latine experience is really like.

“Why Didn’t You Tell Me?” by Carmen Rita Wong

Carmen Rita Wong is a journalist, author, and television personality. She is best known for her work as a financial journalist and commentator. She has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs to discuss economic issues and personal finance. In addition to her journalism work, Wong is the author of several books on personal finance and economic issues.

When Carmen’s mom passed away, her lifelong secrets finally unraveled, shaking up Carmen’s fundamental understanding of her daily life, identity, and place in the world. She wanted to shake her mother’s soul by its shoulders and demand: Why didn’t you tell me?!

In this very raw, personal memoir, Carmen explores generational trauma, the psychology of resilience, and racial and cultural identity as she discovers and learns to cope with her mother’s long-held secrets.

Why Didn’t You Tell Me?
$28.00 $22.99

“You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation” by Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce is an immigrant rights activist, speaker, and author. She is known for her work advocating for the rights of immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented. Arce was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old. She became a successful businesswoman, working at Goldman Sachs and other financial firms, but later dedicated her career to social justice activism.

Julissa believed that the secret to fitting in was to “sound like a white girl,” as in having no accent at all. But boy, was she wrong. In her book “You Sound Like a White Girl,” Julissa aims to dispel the myth many immigrants coming into the U.S. are often told: that assimilation leads to happiness and belonging. Instead, she encourages the celebration of our uniqueness, culture, origins, and heritage as she shares her own story and experiences as an immigrant.

You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation
$27.99 $13.99

“Illegally Yours: A Memoir” by Rafael Agustin

Rafael Agustín is a television writer and producer who has worked on several popular television shows. He is best known for his work on the award-winning CW show “Jane the Virgin,” on which he served as a writer and producer. Agustín has also written for other television shows, including “Superstore” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

While trying to get his driver’s license during his junior year of high school, teenage Rafael accidentally discovered his parents were undocumented immigrants. This revelation turned his life upside-down and made him question his sense of belonging and identity. “Illegally Yours” is a hilarious and heartwarming tale of how his family’s secret became their struggle, and their struggle became their hustle. As Rafa’s mom told him: “dreams should not have borders.”

Find it as a Hardcover, eBook, or Audiobook:“Illegally Yours: A Memoir” by Rafael Agustin

Illegally Yours: A Memoir
$29.00 $24.99

“Lighter: Let Go of the Past, Connect with the Present, and Expand the Future” by Yung Pueblo

Yung Pueblo is the pseudonym of Diego Perez, a spiritual teacher, author, and social media influencer. Perez is known for his work as Yung Pueblo, through which he shares teachings and insights on spirituality, mindfulness, and personal growth.

Moving forward and healing oneself is never easy, but there are steps we can take toward starting that journey. In his book, Yung Pueblo shares his own path to healing after years of using drugs that were taking a toll on his mind and body, and while he’s still on that journey, he shares with us the first few steps to moving forward. From learning self-compassion to letting go, we can grow stronger, and the burdens we carry will finally become lighter.

$24.00 $19.99

“Neruda On The Park” by Cleyvis Natera

Cleyvis Natera is an acclaimed essayist, short fiction writer, critic, and novelist born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. She worked a corporate job in insurance for two decades before becoming a full-time writer. Upon the publication of her debut novel “Neruda On The Park,” it was selected as May 2022 New York Times Editor’s Choice and as the June 2022 pick for Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s Fearless Literati Book Club.

An exciting debut novel about members of a Dominican family in New York City who take vastly different routes when faced with impending gentrification, “Neruda On The Park” crafts a vibrant tapestry of community as well as the sacrifices we make to safeguard what we love most in a beautifully detailed depiction of family, friendship, and ambition.

Neruda On The Park: A Novel

vibrant graphic design featuring two female wrestlers in action

Picture this: the grand arena hums with the electricity of expectation and the clamor of a thousand voices, all waiting for the spectacle of the age-old Mexican tradition of Lucha Libre, a wrestling style born in the heart of Mexico in the early 20th century.

The combatants aren’t mere wrestlers; they are luchadores, artists of acrobatics and theatricality, their faces hidden behind vibrant masks that carry stories older than the very sport they represent, stories rooted in the legacy of the ancient Aztecs.

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Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

Video by theluncheonlawyer on InstagramVideo by theluncheonlawyer on Instagram

Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.