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Latin-Inspired YA Fantasy Books (without the spice)

Today you might be headed out for tacos or making some homemade guac. We love food inspired by south-of-the-border recipes. Some folks like the spicy stuff. Others want the mild version.

But did you know there’s another way to celebrate Latin culture? The books we read are excellent ways to immerse ourselves in new worlds, and books that portray cultures other than our own are fascinating and enlightening.

If you're hunting the less-spicy options, I've got you covered.

Here are three clean reads with Latin-inspired worlds.

1. Unbetrothed by Candice Pedraza Yamnitz.

Around Agatha Sea, princesses are poised, magically gifted, and betrothed.

So, when seventeen-year-old Princess Beatriz still fails to secure a betrothal, her parents hold a ball. Forming an alliance could mean the difference between peace and war, but Beatriz doesn't want just any suitor. She's in love with her best friend, Prince Lux. Marrying Prince Lux will always be a silly dream as long as she has no magical gift.

Princess Beatriz will do whatever it takes to obtain a touch of magic, including making a deadly oath to go on a quest to Valle de Los Fantasmas. A valley where no one comes out alive.

If she can manage to succeed, Princess Beatriz could have everything she desires and secure peace for her kingdom. If she fails, she’ll lose not only her greatest dream but also her kingdom, and maybe even her own life.

Unbethrothed, a 2022 new release title, is a young adult fantasy that encourages young women to embrace their self-worth. Exploring themes of redemption, the story takes place in a tropical seaside kingdom complete with a castle, flat-roofed houses and a mountainous jungle land. The authors’ own Latin background gives her young adult novels a Latin twist causing the most avid reader to be surprised.

2. Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes

​Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he's now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin's efforts, the sun is fading -- and the end of the world may be at hand.

For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor's death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.

Only one girl can become Ahkin's bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.

Rich in imagination and romance, and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Maya people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.

3. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history. Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight. When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place. She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princesa, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge―and her Condesa.

Enjoy celebrating Latin culture with these lovely books. Grab some guac or some fried plantains and curl up with your next read.

Article by C. F. E. Black


C. F. E. Black writes heart-stealing young adult fantasy and science fiction full of epic adventure and clean romance. To read a book in her latest fantasy series for free, sign up to be a reader VIP at her website and receive exclusive, early access to cover reveals, sneak peeks, author updates, and more.


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