I have always believed in the fantastical. As a kid growing up in Queens, New York, I was bored with the mundane world. I wanted a gateway to take me to another land with supernatural creatures and epic quests or a journey to the stars. This was the beginning of my fascination with portal fantasy. (I finally got my wish when I created a faerie portal in Cunningham Park in my novel Wayward Witch.) I’ve spent my entire career building the stories and worlds that I wanted to inhabit, never forgetting that I am a Latina writing SFF.
When I was in college, the feedback I tended to get from critique partners and teachers was that fantasy was cool, but why wasn’t I writing “my real story.” When I had six books under my belt, a librarian once told me at a conference that if I wrote “my story” in a “contemporary” setting that I’d be a shoe-in for a big Latino kidlit award. I know in publishing we’re always looking for THE STORY. What is my story, then? And why couldn’t I tell “my story” in science fiction and fantasy? Where do our stories fit in thrillers, noir, paranormal, and everything that might fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction?
All of this led to Reclaim the Stars, a young adult anthology of SFF stories through the lens of the Latin American diaspora. I wanted to celebrate these voices, these authors, and their perspectives. Here are some books I think belong on any genre lover’s bookshelves, no matter the age group.