Chicas' Lit: today's new young adult Latina Literature
Chicas' lit is a flourishing body of literature with young latina protagonists living and negotiating culture in today's fast-paced United States. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate the many ways this body of literature, introduced as Chicas' lit, creates a safe space for the negotiation of cultural identity of young latinas. Salient indicators were used to place twenty two books and one novella identified and evaluated into a spectrum to demonstrate the diversity in this corpus of new Latina Young Adult Literature. Chicas' Lit main protagonists represent diversity in nationality, geography, class, and level of acculturation. Latina ethnicity, a teenage protagonist and a present-day trope are defining factors for this corpus, as well conciencia, a sense of communal responsibility, is noted in this almost exclusive Latina authorship. A detailed comparison to Chicana literature reveals a shift in family dynamics, including a striking increase in paternal interaction, only children, and an identity with a stronger focus on the peers than on the' family. A study of book titles and cover art indicates the commodification of culture, a leaning towards the use of mainstream marketing techniques, specifically sexualization of images, use of certain words in Spanish, lighter skin ethnic images, and tropical or bright colors. The importance of community, ritual and communal celebration in the development of cultural identity is noted.