The most recommended books about Puerto Rico

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to Puerto Rico, and here are their favorite Puerto Rico books.
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Book cover of When Trying to Return Home: Stories

Jeni McFarland Author Of The House of Deep Water

From Jeni's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Midwestern Rural Black Rainbow-goth Word nerd Kitchen witch

Jeni's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jeni McFarland Why did Jeni love this book?

This book is a stunner! It’s a story collection that grapples with competing loyalties to family, self, community, and love, with several of the stories returning to the same two sisters.

It’s wonderful to see them in different settings, and different points in their lives. And the way in which McCauley weaves words into silken fire, capturing the rhythm and texture of life, makes this book perfect for anyone in love with language!

By Jennifer Maritza McCauley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Trying to Return Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A dazzling debut collection spanning a century of Black American and Afro-Latino life in Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, Louisiana, Miami, and beyond--and an evocative meditation on belonging, the meaning of home, and how we secure freedom on our own terms

Profoundly moving and powerful, the stories in When Trying to Return Home dig deeply into the question of belonging. A young woman is torn between overwhelming love for her mother and the need to break free from her damaging influence during a desperate and disastrous attempt…


Book cover of Does My Body Offend You?

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Author Of Margot Mertz Takes It Down

From my list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor.

Who are we?

Hi! We are writers currently living in Los Angeles after 18 years in New York. We wrote Margot Mertz after reading American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Online Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. It was the first time we heard of boys cultivating and curating non-consensual nude pics, effectively treating them like Pokemon cards. It was infuriating, especially when we realized there are no federal laws to protect victims of revenge porn at the time. So it became a focus of our work. We love a main character who’s angry but also funny, and desperately seeking change.

Carrie's book list on feminist perspectives, coming-of-age, and humor

Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy Why did Carrie love this book?

This is a YA novel told from the perspectives of two very different strong women. It’s part coming-of-age, part coming-of-action as they learn the best ways to affect change in their communities and how to voice their frustrations with the patriarchy. And we loved how it dealt with these issues in a nuanced and complex way that didn’t offer easy answers.

By Mayra Cuevas, Marie Marquardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Does My Body Offend You? 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?

A timely story of two teenagers who discover the power of friendship, feminism, and standing up for what you believe in, no matter where you come from. A collaboration between two gifted authors writing from alternating perspectives, this compelling novel shines with authenticity, courage, and humor.

Malena Rosario is starting to believe that catastrophes come in threes. First, Hurricane María destroyed her home, taking her unbreakable spirit with it. Second, she and her mother are now stuck in Florida, which is nothing like her beloved Puerto Rico. And third, when she goes to school bra-less after a bad sunburn and…


Book cover of Olga Dies Dreaming

R. A. Sinn Author Of A Second Chance for Yesterday

From R. A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Historian Futurist Sibling Obsessive reader Speculative fiction fan

R. A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

R. A. Sinn Why did R. A. love this book?

I loved this book because it evoked the New York City I grew up in during the 1980s and 1990s. I was an outer-borough kid, raised in Queens, then Brooklyn.

Gonzalez does a brilliant job capturing the toll that a life dedicated to political radicalism can take on a person’s kids. The sister and brother at the heart of her story experience hurt and make mistakes, but they also have each other to rely on in the most critical ways. I enjoyed that theme.

By Xochitl Gonzalez,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Olga Dies Dreaming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK · WINNER OF THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY PRIZE • INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARD FINALIST

A blazing talent debuts with the tale of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots—all in the wake of Hurricane Maria

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Kirkus, Washington Post, TIME, NPR, Vogue, Esquire, Book Riot, Goodreads, EW, Reader's Digest, and more!

"Don’t underestimate this new novelist. She’s jump-starting the year with a smart romantic comedy that lures us in with laughter and keeps…


Book cover of Category Five

Diana Rodriguez Wallach Author Of Hatchet Girls

From my list on Latinx horror that go beyond the Final Girl.

Who am I?

I am a lover of ghosts, historical murders, and all things spooky. I am also the author of eight YA novels, including two YA horror novels, Small Town Monsters and Hatchet Girls. Being half Puerto Rican, I try to lend my culture to my characters. Historically, the horror genre has been dominated by white male authors. And while I love their work, Stephen King is a master, I'm excited that women and POC writers are finally getting their stories told. What scares women is often very different from what scares men, same with people of color, and by releasing more diverse stories, like mine, we add ways to frighten new fans.

Diana's book list on Latinx horror that go beyond the Final Girl

Diana Rodriguez Wallach Why did Diana love this book?

This YA Horror novel is technically the sequel to Cardinal’s smash hit Five Midnights, which was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, but I liked it even more than the original.

Category Five takes place in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, and it dives into the real-life struggle with real estate developers trying to gobble up cheap, devasted properties. It also exposes the ghostly history left on nearby Vieques Island after the last Cat 5 storm that hit way back in 1926.

The book features a mixture of spooky and historical with an endearing cast of found family that make it a quick, fun read.

By Ann Dávila Cardinal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Category Five 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?

Category Five is a new supernatural YA thriller from Ann Dávila Cardinal, set against the backdrop of a post-hurricane Puerto Rico.

After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.

The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matters worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.

Lupe, Javier,…


Book cover of Breakup from Hell

Dawn Kurtagich Author Of Teeth in the Mist

From my list on YA horror creepy creatures to keep you up at night.

Who am I?

I am and have always been fascinated with supernatural creatures, particularly if they have horns and dwell in the dark swamps of wooded hinterlands. I spent a greater part of my childhood in the African bush. A formative experience was the day an isangoma (witchdoctor) cast knuckle bones at me in a particularly energetic frenzy. Rather than being scared, I was fascinated by the power these little bones had to command spirits and creatures I had only seen in my nightmares. An obsession was born.

Dawn's book list on YA horror creepy creatures to keep you up at night

Dawn Kurtagich Why did Dawn love this book?

This one is a little bit of a cheeky pick, because, at the time of writing, it hasn’t been published yet. I was lucky enough to get an early read and I loved it. Miguela is frustrated by the tight reign her Puerto-Rican grandmother keeps on her. She is bored with going to church, going to school, being forbidden to date, or basically anything fun. So when Sam, a new gorgeous boy comes to her school and she feels an irresistible pull towards him, she doesn’t resist very hard. Until Sam learns of Sam’s family roots… and has to break up with him. But you don’t just break up with Sam without potentially apocalyptic consequences. This book reminded me of a YA Imaginary Friend by Chbosky, only funny. And why did I pick it for this creepy creature list? Well, the creatures in this one definitely freaked me out. Despite…

By Ann Dávila Cardinal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breakup from Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Fans of Undead Girl Gang and The Babysitters Coven will love Breakup from Hell, a witty YA rom-com with a supernatural twist, starring horror novel obsessed Mica Angeles, who discovers the guy she fell for comes straight out of one of her beloved books.

Miguela Angeles is tired. Tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. Tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she's known forever. So when another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica…


Book cover of Conquistadora

Thomas Bardenwerper Author Of Mona Passage

From my list on set in the Caribbean.

Who am I?

Ever since traveling across Cuba as a teenager in 2006, I’ve been fascinated by the Caribbean and Latin America. That trip inspired me to learn Spanish, study abroad in Mexico, and write a college honors thesis at Harvard about the Batista and Trujillo regimes in Cuba and the Dominican Republic respectively. Upon graduation, I merged this interest with my desire to serve my country by joining the Coast Guard – the military branch most involved in the Western Hemisphere. This proved to be a wise decision, as the two years I spent stationed in Puerto Rico and patrolling the Caribbean were two of the most enjoyable years of my life.

Thomas' book list on set in the Caribbean

Thomas Bardenwerper Why did Thomas love this book?

Esmeralda Santiago portrays the 19th-century journey of Ana Cubillas from imperial Spain to colonial outpost Puerto Rico. Cubillas has a complicated relationship with her family, slavery, and Puerto Rico, and the reader never knows quite what to think of her. Like Cubillas, Puerto Rico itself is complicated. I lived in San Juan for two years and grew to love the island, but I never felt like I quite understood it – any outsider who says they do is probably lying.

By Esmeralda Santiago,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de Leon. And in handsome twin brothers Ramon and Inocente—both in love with Ana—she finds a way to get there. Marrying Ramon at the age of eighteen, she travels across the ocean to Hacienda los Gemelos, a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited. But soon the Civil War erupts in the United States, and Ana finds her livelihood, and perhaps even her life, threatened by the very people on whose backs…


Book cover of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

R. Scott Mackey Author Of Courage Matters

From my list on baseball about flawed people trying their best.

Who am I?

I’ve played the game of baseball, rooted for its teams, and even written a book about baseball (and the protagonist in my novels is a baseball nut), so I’m more than a casual observer of the sport. I’ve read more than two hundred baseball books–fiction and non-fiction–in my life. As such it was nearly impossible to come up with my top five books on the sport. I’m recommending these five because they transcend the subject of baseball, exploring universal themes with exemplary writing that evokes deep feelings within the reader. Whether you like baseball or not, if you love fine writing you can’t go wrong with any of these works. 

R. Scott's book list on baseball about flawed people trying their best

R. Scott Mackey Why did R. Scott love this book?

Maraniss writes books that are meticulously researched while still providing sweeping perspectives. This biography about one of baseball’s greatest players is no exception. Born in rural Puerto Rico, Clemente became one of the first–and greatest–Latino players in the major leagues. His unique grace, dignity and charity for others helped him rise above simply being a “baseball player” to become a symbol of an era. Clemente’s death in a 1972 airplane crash while on a mission to deliver food and supplies to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua was both tragic and revealtory about the goodness of the man.

By David Maraniss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the remarkable life of Roberto Clemente—one of the most accomplished—and beloved—baseball heroes of his generation from Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss.

On New Year’s Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero’s death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, a book destined to become a modern classic. Much like his acclaimed biography of Vince Lombardi, When…


Book cover of Clemente!

Kelly Bennett Author Of The House That Ruth Built

From my list on baseball players of color for little sluggers.

Who am I?

No one really knows who invented baseball. Games involving balls hit with sticks, runners, and bases are as old as time. By the middle of the 1800s, everybody in America was playing baseball. And I mean everybody—girls, boys, women, and men from all walks of life and heritage.  While researching baseball history for The House That Ruth Built, I read stacks of baseball books about baseball legends—for the most part, White players like Babe Ruth or Black players like Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier. I was surprised and delighted when I came across books about baseball players who represented the rest of everybody—hence this list.

Kelly's book list on baseball players of color for little sluggers

Kelly Bennett Why did Kelly love this book?

With vibrant realistic illustrations and rhythmic, lively dialogue a boy named Clemente, tells the story of his namesake, the Pittsburg Pirates right-fielder and slugger Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican kid who grew up to be the first Latin American baseball superstar and humanitarian.

The story’s fast-paced narrative and saucy voice make it a fun read-aloud while at the same time sharing the story of how an “anybody” can grow up to be a hero, and how being a hero is about more than just being good at baseball. 

By Willie Perdomo, Bryan Collier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clemente! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Clemente! is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

A little boy named Clemente learns about his namesake, the great baseball player Roberto Clemente, in this joyful picture book biography.

Born in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the only player for whom the five-year initiation period was waived. Known not only for his exceptional baseball skills but also for his extensive charity work in Latin America, Clemente was well-loved during his 18 years playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in…


Book cover of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Ana Siqueira Author Of Bella's Recipe for Success

From my list on fabulosos Latinx picture books.

Who am I?

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and a published author in the Foreign Language educational market. Her debut picture book is Bella’s Recipe for Disaster/Success (Beaming Books, 2021), Her forthcoming books are If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja/ Cuando Tu Niñera Es Una Bruja (SimonKids, 2022), Abuela’s Super Capa/La Super Capa De Abuela (HarperCollins 2023) - two-book deal auction, Room in Mami’s Corazon (HarperCollins 2024) and some others that can’t be announced yet. Ana is a member of SCBWI, Las Musas Books, and co-founder of LatinxPitch. You can learn more about Ana, by following her.

Ana's book list on fabulosos Latinx picture books

Ana Siqueira Why did Ana love this book?

In this story about Pura Belpre, the Puerto Rican librarian, we learn about her journey of planting story seeds throughout the country. It all starts when she moves to the United States. Working as a bilingual librarian assistant, she notices there are no Puerto Rican stories. So, she writes her own and plants also dream seeds. This is a sparse, lyrical book with vivid and sweet illustrations. 

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Planting Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

FOLLOW LA VIDA Y EL LEGADO OF PURA BELPRE, THE FIRST PUERTO RICAN LIBRARIAN IN NEW YORK CITY

When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folkloricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura's legacy.

This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the…


Book cover of A Proposal They Can't Refuse

Ofelia Martinez Author Of Remission

From my list on romance with positive representation of Latina women.

Who am I?

I write romance with Latinas on top. Strong, confident, and successful women (or women on their path to success) who are also sex-positive and know what they want are featured in all my work. I’m passionate about this type of representation of my community because until recently, it has been incredibly difficult to find. While the stories of our struggles are important stories to tell and read, I want to read more stories of our triumphs. Latina women have among the lowest reading for fun rates of any group, but why would we read for fun when we are not seeing our reflection anywhere on the page? This is why representation is so important.

Ofelia's book list on romance with positive representation of Latina women

Ofelia Martinez Why did Ofelia love this book?

New to the scene, I have no idea where Natalie has been my whole life. This is another rom-com that left strangers wondering if I was deranged, I was laughing so hard. 

Puerto Rican firecracker heroine Kamilah Vega just wants to save the family restaurant. 

Broody, artsy perfection, Scottish-American Liam Kane wants his grandpa to get the treatment he’s refusing and to take the family whiskey distillery in a new direction. 

When the two hilarious grandfathers, who own the building, blackmail Kamila and Liam to get married or they’ll sell the building housing the restaurant and distillery, the couple agrees to a fake relationship. 

Fake dating is my all-time favorite trope because it lends itself to hilarity and all the sexual tension. 

By Natalie Caña,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Proposal They Can't Refuse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Utterly charming… A Proposal They Can't Refuse is a surefire winner!” —Mia Sosa, USA Today bestselling author of The Worst Best Man

Natalie Caña turns up the heat, humor and heart in this debut rom-com about a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish American whiskey distiller forced into a fake engagement by their scheming octogenarian grandfathers.

Kamilah Vega is desperate to convince her family to update their Puerto Rican restaurant and enter it into the Fall Foodie Tour. With the gentrification of their Chicago neighborhood, it's the only way to save the place. The fly in her mofongo—her blackmailing abuelo…