100 books like Dominicana

By Angie Cruz,

Here are 100 books that Dominicana fans have personally recommended if you like Dominicana. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Poet X

Alexandra V. Méndez Author Of What the Jaguar Told Her

From my list on the power of stories and finding your voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stories and the myriad ways they’re told fascinate me. Growing up in Atlanta with Mexican and American heritage, I first learned about Mexican códices—centuries-old books that tell stories through images—on a trip to visit family in Mexico. Later, I studied the history and literature of Latin America at Harvard and got a Ph.D. in Latin American and Iberian Cultures and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. I’ve studied storytelling in many forms, from Mesoamerican maps to early Spanish chronicles of exploration and invasion, to modern Latin American novels. The books listed here celebrate oral storytelling, written traditions, and artistic expression, and they take seriously the perspectives of young people.

Alexandra's book list on the power of stories and finding your voice

Alexandra V. Méndez Why did Alexandra love this book?

In this novel in verse, Elizabeth Acevedo beautifully evokes the landscape and feel of Harlem through the observant character of Xiomara Batista.

Having lived in upper Manhattan for years, I recognized the neighborhood in the vibrant descriptions. I identified with Xiomara’s need to express herself, how she fills the pages of her notebook with what she feels she can’t speak aloud. Her emotions as she confronts the challenges of friendship, romance, and family feel very real.

When a high school teacher opens up for her the world of spoken word poetry and a whole new set of possibilities for self-expression, I find myself rooting for Xiomara to be brave and take the steps she must take on her personal and artistic journey towards sharing her voice.

By Elizabeth Acevedo,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Poet X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN'S BOOK PRIZE 2019
THE WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
THE WINNER OF THE MICHAEL L.PRINTZ AWARD
THE WINNER OF THE PURA BELPRE AWARD
THE WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE-HORNBOOK AWARD

'I fell in love at slam poetry. This one will stay with you a long time.' - Angie Thomas, bestselling author of The Hate U Give

'This was the type of book where "I'll just do 50 pages" turned into finishing it in 2 reads. I felt very emotional, not just because the story and…


Book cover of The House on Mango Street

Namrata Poddar Author Of Border Less

From my list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns.

Why am I passionate about this?

Namrata Poddar is an Indian American writer of fiction and nonfiction, literature and writing faculty at UCLA, and Interviews Editor for Kweli where she curates the series, “Race, Power and Storytelling.” Her work has explored ways in which writers from across the world decolonize Literature. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and featured in several media outlets including the “Most Anticipated” 2022 books for The Millions and Ms. Magazine. She holds a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transnational Cultures from UCLA. 

Namrata's book list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns

Namrata Poddar Why did Namrata love this book?

Written in 46 short vignettes, this is a coming-of-age story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. Yet the novel is anything but one protagonist’s story, as it consistently juxtaposes Esperanza’s story with stories of secondary characters who make a brief appearance in the novel to seldom reappear and tie loose ends of the “sub-plots”: Marin, Louie, Alicia, Geraldo, Rafaela, Minerva, and others. Narrative continuity via a protagonist’s psychological journey that is a key trait of coming-of-age novels, or of mainstream Western or realist novels at large, is repeatedly disrupted here, making the reader wonder, who is the novel’s protagonist?: Esperanza, Mango Street, or its Brown community, or young Latina girls and women in a 20th century USA, alluded by “las Mujeres” to whom the book is dedicated.

By Sandra Cisneros,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The House on Mango Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world—from the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

“Cisneros draws…


Book cover of Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx

David Kamp Author Of Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America

From my list on coming of age in New York City.

Why am I passionate about this?

“You spend your first 18 years as a sponge and the rest of your life using those early years as material.” Martin Short said this to me when I collaborated with him on his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. My own writing bears this out. My nonfiction books The United States of Arugula and Sunny Days are not first-person books, but they examine two significant cultural movements that defined my formative years: the American food revolution led by the likes of Julia Child and Alice Waters and the children’s-TV revolution defined by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of my journalism finds me chasing down the cultural figures who captured and shaped my young imagination, e.g., Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Charles Schulz.

David's book list on coming of age in New York City

David Kamp Why did David love this book?

Manzano played Maria for more than 40 years on Sesame Street, but this isn’t a book about that show. A sort of next-gen, nonfiction companion to Dominicana, it tells the story of Manzano’s hard-knock childhood in the South Bronx, and how her gifts as an actor and storyteller propelled her out of a rough neighborhood and troubled home (her father physically abused her mother.) Manzano doesn’t paper over the anger she felt and still feels about the systemic forces that ghettoized Hispanic kids like her. But she succeeds in offering hope and modeling Nuyorican success to latter-day versions of her young self.

By Sonia Manzano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Maria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpre Honor winner for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and one of America's most influential Hispanics--'Maria' on Sesame Street--delivers a beautifully wrought coming-of-age memoir.

Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving--and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors.…


Book cover of Act One: An Autobiography

Robert Kaplow Author Of Me and Orson Welles

From my list on set in the world of the theater.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since adolescence I’ve written scripts, stories, and songs. For ten years I wrote songs and sketches for NPR’s Morning Edition  as “Moe Moskowitz and the Punsters.” Among my young-adult novels, my favorite remains Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten Torrid Chapters, a literate howl of romantic obsession by an over-educated and under-loved madman. I think my funniest comedy novel is Who’s Killing the Great Writers of America? that not only kills off some famous writers, but simultaneously parodies their style. And, of course, Stephen King ends up solving the whole crazy conspiracy. I taught writing for many years, and I’m pleased to report that my students taught me more than anything I ever taught them.

Robert's book list on set in the world of the theater

Robert Kaplow Why did Robert love this book?

While the prose style of Act One is a little fussy, florid, and overly eager to impress, this is still a moving, funny, and emotional biography of a talented, ambitious young man who is determined to make his mark as a Broadway playwright. And, at the end, when he single-handedly turns his out-of-town failure (co-written with George S. Kaufman) into a hit, you want to stand up and cheer.

By Moss Hart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Act One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Moss Hart's Act One, which Lincoln Center Theater presented in 2014 as a play written and directed by James Lapine, is one of the great American memoirs, a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early twentieth century. Hart's story inspired a generation of theatergoers, dramatists, and readers everywhere as he eloquently chronicled his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit. Act One is the quintessential American success story.


Book cover of Summer in Williamsburg

David Kamp Author Of Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America

From my list on coming of age in New York City.

Why am I passionate about this?

“You spend your first 18 years as a sponge and the rest of your life using those early years as material.” Martin Short said this to me when I collaborated with him on his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. My own writing bears this out. My nonfiction books The United States of Arugula and Sunny Days are not first-person books, but they examine two significant cultural movements that defined my formative years: the American food revolution led by the likes of Julia Child and Alice Waters and the children’s-TV revolution defined by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of my journalism finds me chasing down the cultural figures who captured and shaped my young imagination, e.g., Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Charles Schulz.

David's book list on coming of age in New York City

David Kamp Why did David love this book?

An immersive, impressionistic snapshot of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as it was in the 1920s and early 1930s, when it was known not for hipsters, craft beer, and creative facial hair but as a Jewish slum rife with yentas and gangsters. Fuchs published this book in 1934 and swiftly followed it up with two more novels, Homage to Blenholt and Low Company. The books didn’t sell, but Fuchs catapulted himself out of the ghetto and into a respectable West Coast life as a Hollywood screenwriter. Only after Fuchs had all but stopped writing fiction did these early books receive a warm reassessment from the likes of John Updike and Jonathan Lethem. Full disclosure: Fuchs was my great uncle! He was the older brother of my maternal grandfather.

By Daniel Fuchs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer in Williamsburg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

303 pages. Originally published in 1934. The author, Daniel Fuchs, grew up in Williamsburg.


Book cover of MacDoodle St.

David Kamp Author Of Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America

From my list on coming of age in New York City.

Why am I passionate about this?

“You spend your first 18 years as a sponge and the rest of your life using those early years as material.” Martin Short said this to me when I collaborated with him on his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend. My own writing bears this out. My nonfiction books The United States of Arugula and Sunny Days are not first-person books, but they examine two significant cultural movements that defined my formative years: the American food revolution led by the likes of Julia Child and Alice Waters and the children’s-TV revolution defined by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Much of my journalism finds me chasing down the cultural figures who captured and shaped my young imagination, e.g., Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Charles Schulz.

David's book list on coming of age in New York City

David Kamp Why did David love this book?

My curveball choice. In the late 1970s, Stamaty drew a brilliant, phantasmagoric, visually dense comic strip for The Village Voice that captured the chaos, charm, and entropic scuzziness of Manhattan in that era. His protagonist, a bearded nerd named Malcolm Frazzle, travels on a very funny Joseph Campbell-like hero’s journey that involves a talking cow, the Zen of dishwashing, and overpacked subway cars. I’ve spent the last 40 years revisiting this compendium of Stamaty’s strips, whose every page is a loony, trippy world to fall into.

By Mark Alan Stamaty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked MacDoodle St. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of legendary absurdist comic strips about life in 1970s New York City, now available in print for the first time in over thirty years.

Every week, from 1978 to 1980, The Village Voice brought a new installment of Mark Alan Stamaty's uproarious, endlessly inventive strip MacDoodle St. Centering more or less on Malcolm Frazzle, a blocked poet struggling to complete his latest lyric for Dishwasher Monthly, Stamaty's creation encompassed a dizzying array of characters, stories, jokes, and digressions. One week might feature the ongoing battle between irate businessmen and bearded beatniks for control of a Greenwich Village coffee…


Book cover of We Are Not from Here

Holly Green Author Of In the Same Boat

From my list on contemporary YA survival stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was eleven, I picked up a book about a girl and a boy who get lost on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. It’s the first book I can remember reading over and over and over again. I wanted to be in that tent and in that forest figuring out how to survive. Since then, I’ve been hooked on books about people facing grueling physical challenges, surviving in the wilderness, and finding out what they’re made of. They’re urgent and compelling and the stakes are high, and I’ll never stop loving the thrill of reading about people being pushed to their physical and mental limits.

Holly's book list on contemporary YA survival stories

Holly Green Why did Holly love this book?

It is no longer safe for three teens, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña to stay in Guatemala. Even though they love their families, they have no choice but to travel the route of La Bestia, a train system that will take them to the United States. Nothing about this journey is safe or easy, and the three friends face threats from the natural world and from people who mean them harm. This book hooked me from the opening pages, and I could not stop thinking or worrying about Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña. Jenny Torres Sanchez puts you right inside the characters' bodies, crafting a story that is compelling and tragic and ultimately hopeful, and brings to life the struggle of people in an impossible situation.

By Jenny Torres Sanchez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Are Not from Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.

A Pura Belpré 2021 Young Adult Author Honor Book!
A BookPage Best Book of 2020!
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2020!
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020!
A New York Public Library 2020 Top 10 Best Book for Teens!

Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.

And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even…


Book cover of Forbidden Bread: A Memoir

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

From my list on books about Slovenia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Why did Sam love this book?

In contrast to Slovenology, this book digs deeper into Slovenia. A memoir by an American who moved to the country in the mid-1990s after falling for a handsome Slovene poet, Debeljak tells the story of her life as she takes on the head-twisting nature of Slovenian, and gets to grips with a culture that is often quite different to that of her homeland. 

Debeljak does not hold back on personal details, and I loved how she pours her heart into the story, sharing so much of her inner feelings with us. She also writes with humor and beauty. I think Slovenia has changed quite a lot since Debeljak's story, but it's still a great read for any Slovenia fan.

By Erica Johnson Debeljak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forbidden Bread as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[A] sunny, can-do look at intense culture shock. Debeljak makes a humorous, self-effacing guide to her own story and the only complaint I have is that I wish she’d told us more. I hope someday she gives us a sequel."—Christian Science Monitor • "Witty and warm."—Kirkus Reviews


Forbidden Bread is an unusual love story that covers great territory, both geographically and emotionally. The author leaves behind a successful career as an American financial analyst to pursue Ales Debeljak, a womanizing Slovenian poet who catches her attention at a cocktail party. The story begins in New York City, but quickly migrates,…


Book cover of On Rotation

Alex Travis Author Of The Only Black Girl in the Room

From my list on young, Black, and all together.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading these books has given me people to relate to in a way that I didn’t have when I was younger, and it’s fun to see Black women learning how to thrive in both life and love since that’s not an image I’ve gotten to see very often in media. As a recent Ph.D. grad, immersing myself in fictional romantic worlds and humor has been a great way to unwind but also think through how I want to operate in the world as a (sort of??) adult. These books can appeal to anyone, but this has just been a bit of why they resonate with me. 

Alex's book list on young, Black, and all together

Alex Travis Why did Alex love this book?

This book made me want to scream at the main characters (in the best way!) most of the way through. There’s a perfect meet-cute, the kind that had me wondering why no one has ever thought to approach me in that way.

Plus, as a recovering grad student, I totally relate to having a quarter-life crisis and trying to figure out if the career I thought I wanted was really where I wanted to go.

The dialogue is whip-fast (even when the main character, Angie, is decidedly NOT getting her s*** together), and the romance combined with the growth that Angie experiences over the course of the book makes the ultimate payoff totally worth it. 

By Shirlene Obuobi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Rotation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Sexy, fun and smart' BETH O'LEARY, author of THE FLATSHARE

'I couldn't put down On Rotation, and you won't be able to, either... I personally couldn't get enough' MEG CABOT

Angie has checked off all the boxes for the Perfect Immigrant Daughter: medical school, a suitable lawyer/doctor/engineer boyfriend and a gaggle of successful and/or loyal friends.

So when she bombs the most important exam of her medical career and gets dumped by her boyfriend, it is safe to say her parents are more than a little disappointed . . .

Just when things couldn't get more complicated, Angie meets Ricky,…


Book cover of White Ivy

Michelle Quach Author Of Not Here to Be Liked

From my list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Chinese Vietnamese American author who writes about the Asian girls I never saw in books as a kid. Growing up in Southern California, I was part of an Asian community that was extremely diverse—a reality that was rarely reflected in American pop culture. For years, I longed to see messy, flawed, fully humanized Asian characters in all different kinds of stories, not just the typical child-of-immigrant narratives. As a result, I now spend a lot of time thinking about representation (whether I want to or not!), and I’m always looking for writers who pull it off with nuance and realism. I hope you’ll find these books are great examples of that.

Michelle's book list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls

Michelle Quach Why did Michelle love this book?

White Ivy is such a zippy, delicious read. I don’t even normally like thrillers, but I loved this one. 

Part romance, part coming-of-age-story, and part social-climbing satire, this book had an absolutely magnetic protagonist in Ivy, who is the kind of terrible person you can’t look away from. Susie Yang’s writing is both astute and eviscerating, with plenty of memorable lines.

Plus it’s got the most spot-on description of WASP interior design I’ve ever read.

By Susie Yang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Ivy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller, November 2020

'White Ivy is magic . . . and not soon to be forgotten' JOSHUA FERRIS, author of Then We Came to the End

'Totally addictive, twisting and twisted: Ivy Lin will get under your skin' ERIN KELLY, author of He Said/She Said

'This is Austen mixed with the hyperreal sharpness of Donna Tartt' Irish Times

Ivy Lin was a thief. But you'd never know it to look at her...

Ivy Lin, a Chinese immigrant growing up in a low-income apartment complex outside Boston, is desperate to assimilate with her American peers. Her parents…


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