This year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing two Afro-Latinx YA novels for sx salon: a small axe literary platform. One of these novels was already on my lengthy Afro-futurism reading list and the other was a necessary addition to my arsenal of Afro-Latinx literature. The following is an excerpt of my review of Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older and Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero:
Look a little deeper. Daniel José Older’s Afro-Latinx fantasy novel Shadowshaper and Sofia Quintero’s hip-hop coming-of-age novel Show and Prove are two young adult books that demand readers to take pause: things are not quite what they seem. Shadowshaper, Older’s second novel, offers us a glimpse into the Afro-Caribbean syncretic practice of shadowshaping, a delicate interchange between the living and the spirit world. In creating Shadowshaper, Older opens a critical space for (Afro-)Latinidad in Afro-futurist discourses, while bridging Latinx literature and Afro-Atlantic cosmologies, including Santería, Lucumí, and Candomblé, to the fantasy genre. In Show and Prove, Quintero’s second young adult novel, B-boying is an art form and a battlefield, and the protagonists, Smiles and Nike, are trying to thrive in a city that is contending with the crack epidemic, the rise of HIV/AIDS, and the onslaught of rapid urban decay and arson. Their story, told in a dialectic format, is imbued with the sights, slang, and swagger of the South Bronx, all while revisiting the sociopolitical realities of poverty and disenfranchisement from which hip-hop arose.
[...read the rest here ]