Latinx Teens

U.S. Popular Culture on the Page, Stage, and Screen

Trevor Boffone (Author), Cristina Herrera (Author)
Paperback ($22.95), Ebook ($22.95) Buy
What can Latinx youth contribute to critical conversations on culture, politics, identity, and representation? Latinx Teens answers this question and more by offering an energetic, in-depth look at how Latinx teenagers influence twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture.

In this exciting new book, Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera explore the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad. Latinx Teens shows how coming-of-age Latinx representation is performed in mainstream media, and how U.S. audiences consume Latinx characters and stories. Despite the challenges that the Latinx community face in both real and fictional settings, Latinx teens in pop culture forge spaces that institutionalize Latinidad. Teen characters make Latinx adolescence mainstream and situate teen characters as both in and outside their Latinx communities and U.S. mainstream culture, conveying the complexities of “fitting in,” and refusing to fit in all at the same time.

Fictional teens such as Spider-Man’s Miles Morales, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter’s Julia Reyes, Party of Five’s Acosta siblings, and In the Heights’s Nina Rosario comprise a growing body of pop culture media that portray young Latinxs as three-dimensional individuals who have agency, authenticity, and serious charisma. Teenagers and young adults have always had the power to manifest social change, and this book acknowledges, celebrates, and investigates how Latinx teens in popular culture take on important current issues.

With a dynamic interdisciplinary approach, Latinx Teens explores how Latinxs on the cusp of adulthood challenge, transform, expand, and reimagine Latinx identities and their relationships to mainstream U.S. popular culture in the twenty-first century.

The book makes a critical intervention into Latinx studies, youth studies, and media cultures. Students and scholars alike will benefit from the book’s organization, complete with chapters that focus on specific mediums and conclude with suggestions for further reading and viewing. As the first book that specifically examines Latinx adolescence in popular culture, Latinx Teens insists that we must privilege the stories of Latinx teenagers in television, film, theater, and literature to get to the heart of Latinx popular culture. Exploring themes around representation, identity, gender, sexuality, and race, the works explored in this groundbreaking volume reveal that there is no single way to be Latinx, and show how Latinx youth are shaping the narrative of the Latinx experience for a more inclusive future.

"This excellent work researches an oft-marginalized segment of society whose influence on pop culture cannot be underestimated. Each chapter also includes helpful additional reading and viewing suggestions.Highly recommended."—Y. Fuentes, Nova Southeastern University, CHOICE

“Boffone and Herrera have written a compelling, witty, and entertaining book of scholarship that places Latinx teens at the center of a critical conversation about representation, power, and popular culture. Latinx Teens brings together the mainstream and the margins as it considers a range of stories about Latinx teens in all their complex identities and why they matter. Reading it feels like spending time with smart friends talking about the latest book, TV show, movie, or play; the critical points are shaped by sophisticated concepts, but they recede into the background, allowing us to focus the critical pleasures of the texts at hand.”—Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson, co-editor of The Un/making of Latina/o Citizenship: Culture, Politics, and Aesthetics

“The broad coverage in Latinx Teens of Latinx teenagers’ mediation in film, television, literature, and theatre makes it a great resource for scholars writing about mainstream representation, cultural citizenship, and coming-of-age narratives through an interdisciplinary, Latinx studies lens. With each case study, Boffone and Herrera convincingly underscore Latinx teen perspectives to be a persistent gap in the scholarship associated with that medium and mobilize a call to action that scholars from various disciplines address this area further in their own research.”—Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero, Chasqui



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