Kerry Lengel of The Arizona Republicdiscusses the latest book trend: chica lit. Chica lit is like chick lit, but with a Latina heroine.
Right down to the label, "chica lit" is one pop-culture trend that was entirely predictable: Just add a Latina heroine to chick lit, then change the "k" to an "a." The only question is, "What took so long?"
With titles like "Friday Night Chicas," and "Cinderella Lopez," chica lit is a small but growing niche within chick lit, the category that has spawned such thinly sliced genres as "mommy lit" and "hen lit," not to mention such hybrids as the chick-lit mystery.
What all the varieties have in common is a focus on the real-life concerns of regular women. There's usually some added glamour, but the heroines tend to be middle-class professionals dealing with friendship, romance and career.
That some of those heroines should be Latina — in a country with 40 million Hispanics — should have been a no-brainer.
"The publishing industry expected us to be writing tales of oppression and exile and misery and all this sort of stuff they were used to, and instead we were writing legitimately what our lives are like," says Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, the Albuquerque, N.M., author who launched the chica-lit revolution three years ago with "The Dirty Girls Social Club." Her newest is "Make Him Look Good."
"I'm an Ivy League graduate, middle-class person who just lives a regular American life — you know, born and raised here, don't speak all that much Spanish — and there are lots and lots of people like me."
The book that really launched chica lit was The Dirty Girls Social Club
by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, which followed the love lives of six youthful Latinas. Dirty Girls sold more than 350,000 copies -- and a new genre was born.