Things I’d like to see in YA books with latinx rep

Posted August 11, 2017 by Pamela Nicole in Discussions, Reading / 6 Comments

latinx rep


Yes, I have opinions. Until I can write my own contemporary with latin characters, I’m going to keep talking about this, lol.

Behold the latinx rep wishlist!

Characters using slang from their own countries

You know how british and US people use different words for things sometimes, even though it’s all english? They have their own slang too, and so does each latin american country. Ecuador is different from Colombia, which is different from Argentina, which is different from Mexico. We all speak spanish but it’s way, way different, the way we do it.


Stories with fantasy based on a culture like incans, aztecs or mayans

I love greek stories based on the greek civilization just as anybody else, but… latin american countries have their own stories too. I think these stories would be better told by someone with a latin american background, of course. These are stories of colonization and death, delicate subjects because our natives are still around, keep their identity alive, so these stories would have to represent them correctly.


Story set in an actual latin american country

This is one of my main dreams. I don’t remember where I talked about it, but I’m going to say it again. I’m infinitely happy for the current latinx representation, but it’s to be expected that this representation is about latinx living in say, the US. But we really do need stories set in latin american countries.

I know of so many latinx bloggers that are actually living in their countries, and it would be a dream come true to see a YA book featuring someone like them.

It’s so, so different, the way we live, if we compare it to US lifestyle, and even there are obviously many different among our own countries.

For example, take college.

In Ecuador, hardly anyone gets in debt to go to university. It’s about $500 to $800 monthly per semester. Unlike universities abroad where you mostly pay the semester upfront, here almost everyone pays monthly. Parents usually pay for our tuitions, but they don’t have to save since the moment we’re born for them. Now, education is so, so. It could improve a lot, but I wouldn’t say it’s bad.

And few, if any universities have dorm rooms. If someone is from another part of the country, they better find an apartment because there are no in-campus accomodations.

To get into college there is no ‘college application period of hell’ that I know is customary in other places. In Ecuador hardly anyone doesn’t get into college, unless they really do not want to go and are sabotaging themselves, or they’re really, really academically lacking.

Just from that you can see a YA book featuring a senior thinking about college, set in a latin american country would have a very different experience than a senior from somewhere else. And also, we graduate at 17, not 18. And we drive and can work and get drunk at 18, not 16, or 21.


Diversity of race/orientation/identity/ and you know… all those things that exist in the real world

Latin americans are not all brown. There are quite a lot that are white and blonde. I just mean, don’t fall into the stereotype. Latin america is one of the most diverse regions in the world, because everyone has been here omg. We have people in all shapes and sizes, and books with latinx rep should keep that in mind too.


Active role of parents

Parents… sigh.

In latin america, we live with our parents until we get married, and then… some even after that too. That’s just our culture, I guess. And then, it’s not only our parents, it’s also our abuelitos, and sometimes even one uncle or aunt. And that’s only when it’s normal life. Don’t even get me started on Christmas and birthdays.

And they all have an opinion on our lives. But we love them anyway, even though they get on our nerves.

It’s accepted that both parents work and are usually pretty busy, but still, parents are always expected to take part in their children’s lives. What is seen as strict in other cultures, in Ecuador, for example, is actually the norm. Going to the movies without asking for permission first is asking to get hit with something.

There’s really no such thing as being ‘grounded’ because teens can’t go anywhere on their own anyway! A middle-class neighborhood is still too dangerous for one to just go walking around. You want to go somewhere, you drive. And since teens don’t drive, it’s the parents.




About this ‘wishlist’? Is there anything you would add or do away with?

Hi, I’m Pamela, your curly-haired bookdragon friend, here to talk about books, writing, introversion, and everything creativity! I also teach creative writing through workshops and online courses to spanish-speaking writers.

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6 responses to “Things I’d like to see in YA books with latinx rep

  1. Omg the Christmas/birthday thing is so true!!! It’s weird for me to read books in which they only spend the Christmas with siblings + parents bc I don’t remember a single family Christmas without aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins of cousins, great aunts, extended family of my extended family, etc

  2. I love this! I wish there were more represent tative fantasies out there too, but like you pointed out, it would definitely be better written by someone from that respective culture, or at least closer to it! I know I would be terrified to write something that takes place in a foreign culture because these days people get really offended if someone gets something wrong.