Friday, April 10, 2020

New Fiction from Arte Público Press

Arte Público Press has several new projects planned for 2020.  Here are publicity blurbs from the Press's 2020 Spring Catalog for four new fiction novels -- three of which are classified as young adult.  I think you will find something you like, for yourself or that adolescent who always needs something to do.


Trust Me
Richard Z. Santos
March 31

This thrilling debut novel follows a mismatched group of people desperately searching for money, happiness and love.

Charles O’Connell is riding an epic losing streak. Having worked in politics since college, he is used to losing races, but he never imagined that his most recent candidate would end up in jail and that he would also need an attorney. His euphoria at not joining his boss in prison is short-lived—no one will hire him now, his credit cards are maxed out and his marriage is on the rocks.
An unexpected offer to work in Santa Fe, New Mexico, doing public relations for a firm building the city’s new airport feels like an opportunity to start fresh and make connections with powerful people out west. But when the construction crew unearths a skeleton, Charles’ fresh start turns into another disaster. Soon, a group of Apache claims the site holds Geronimo’s secret grave.
Charles quickly realizes everyone has an agenda—and numerous dark secrets threaten to erupt.  Gabriel Luna, one of the laborers present when the skeleton is unearthed, is willing to do just about anything to reconnect with his teenage son. Cody Branch, an ambitious, powerful millionaire, plans to leverage the deal to enrich himself. And there’s his wife, Olivia Branch, who has a surprising connection to Charles’ past and desperately needs his help.
Surrounded by deception on all fronts, including his own lies to himself and his wife, Charles falls into a whirlwind of fraud, betrayal and double crosses. This riveting novel barrels through the New Mexican landscape in an exploration of innocence and guilt, power and wealth, and the search for love and happiness.

Richard Z. Santos received an MFA from Texas State University. He is a board member of the National Book Critics Circle, and his fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in multiple publications, including The San Antonio Express-News, Kirkus Reviews, The Rumpus, The Morning News and The Texas Observer. Previously, he was a political campaign operative. A high-school English teacher in Austin, Texas, this is his first novel.


Anna Garcia Schaper
May 31

An engaging novel for teens that weaves the story of an overweight girl being bullied with her grandmother’s experiences at the hands of an abusive husband.

Pilar’s mother has been extra vigilant about her fifteen-year-old daughter’s diet after she came home from school in tears. The truth is, Pilar wouldn’t mind losing some weight. She dreams of becoming an actor and wants to try out for the school production of “Our Town,” but she’s reminded constantly that she’s too ugly, too fat, too Mexican.
With the encouragement of some new friends and her feisty grandmother who thinks she’s perfect just the way she is, Pilar works up the nerve to try out for the play—in spite of continued harassment by Becca Barlowe and her posse. But when a handsome high school jock plays a mean trick on her that becomes a social media sensation, Pilar once again finds herself using food to anesthetize her pain.
This appealing novel for mature teens juxtaposes Pilar’s story with her grandmother’s when she was married to a male chauvinist years earlier in Laredo, Texas. Both women must struggle to find their own voice in a world where others insist on defining them as “less than.”  Capturing the heartache of seeking—and accepting—one’s true self, Anna Garcia Schaper movingly explores the strength of family bonds and their importance in overcoming difficult and sometimes tragic circumstances.

Anna Garcia Schaper, a Texas native, is an adjunct professor at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and a middle school teacher in Walkersville, Maryland. This is her first published novel.


Richie Narvaez
May 31

An entertaining whodunit for teens set in New York City during the disco-dancing craze!

Holly Hernandez, voted “Miss Bright of ’79” and valedictorian at her previous school, is excited to start fresh at Flatbush Technical High School, one of the most competitive public schools in New York City. She’ll be one of thousands; anonymous. But her dreams of a normal school life disappear when her mother, a homicide detective, has to investigate the murder of Mr. Friedman, the social studies teacher.

One of her classmates, Xander Herrera, quickly becomes the primary suspect. The tall, awkward boy is socially inept, but Holly doesn’t think he’s a murderer. She is intent on exonerating him—but he wants nothing to do with her. To Xander, Holly is the overly enthusiastic student who always sits in the front row and answers all the teachers’ questions—correctly. He hates perky people!

Eventually cleared of the crime, Xander is determined to find the killer before Holly. As they race to solve the case, their separate investigations lead to a slew of suspects, including another teacher seen arguing with Friedman and a mysterious person named Steve who met with him several times before his death. Could it have been a disgruntled student? Ultimately, a trophy for a disco-dancing contest leads the intrepid young detectives to the Mission Venus nightclub and a murderer intent on killing again!

Richie Narvaez is the author of Hipster Death Rattle (Down & Out Books, 2019) and Roachkiller and Other Stories (Beyond the Page, 2012), which won the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Latinx Rising: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Mad Creek Books, 2020), Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Público Press, 2009) and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens (Piñata Books, 2011). He served as president of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Artist in Residence of the Bronx Council on the Arts and a judge for the 2019 PEN America’s Open Book Awards. He teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and lives in the Bronx.

Rodolfo Alvarado
May 31

A coming-of-age novella for young adults about a boy’s dream to make a difference in his family’s life.

For generations, Junior’s family traveled to West Texas to pick cotton. The work was demanding, but the money earned was a blessing. For Junior, a teenager on the cusp of manhood, the annual trip offers a chance to reflect on love of family, tradition and his parents’ courage.

The kids always help pack the 1951 Chrysler station wagon fondly known as La Blanca. It takes seven hours to make the drive from Piedras Negras, Mexico, to the fields, and this year Junior’s youngest sister is old enough to join in the work. Her siblings are excited to show her the ropes, but they worry too. The farmers had a bumper crop and they expect the Mexican workers—adults and children—to work seven days a week, from sunup to sundown. Can eight-year-old Espy drag a heavy bag of cotton up and down the rows all day long?

But an unexpected event shakes the family to its core, leaving them in fear for Junior’s life and worried they may not be able to earn the money needed to see them through the coming year. Based on the author’s experiences, this short, bilingual novel for teens follows a boy’s journey of self-discovery and continued faith in a dream born of his father’s tears, his mother’s determination and his ancestors’ hopes.

Rodolfo Alvarado is the author of three books in The Perla Garcia Mystery Series, including Perla Garcia and the Mystery of La Llorona (Caballo Press, 2015). His work has been published in numerous journals, such as The Americas Review, Somos en Escritos: The Latino Literary Online Magazine and El Editor. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his family.



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction.  He is working on a new Gus Corral novel.

No comments: