Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks
Outsiders in Chicanx and Latinx Young Adult Literature
A much-needed intervention into the critical study of Chicanx and Latinx young adult literature
Contributions by Carolina Alonso, Elena Avilés, Trevor Boffone, Christi Cook, Ella Diaz, Amanda Ellis, Cristina Herrera, Guadalupe García McCall, Domino Pérez, Adrianna M. Santos, Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Lettycia Terrones, and Tim Wadham
In Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks: Outsiders in Chicanx and Latinx Young Adult Literature, the outsider intersects with discussions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. The essays in this volume address questions of outsider identities and how these identities are shaped by mainstream myths around Chicanx and Latinx young people, particularly with the common stereotype of the struggling, underachieving inner-city teens.
Contributors also grapple with how young adults reclaim what it means to be an outsider, weirdo, nerd, or goth, and how the reclamation of these marginalized identities expand conversations around authenticity and narrow understandings of what constitutes cultural identity.
Included are analysis of such texts as I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Shadowshaper, Swimming While Drowning, and others. Addressed in the essays are themes of outsiders in Chicanx/Latinx children’s and young adult literature, and the contributors insist that to understand Latinx youth identities it is necessary to shed light on outsiders within an already marginalized ethnic group: nerds, goths, geeks, freaks, and others who might not fit within such Latinx popular cultural paradigms as the chola and cholo, identities that are ever-present in films, television, and the internet.
"Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks furthers existing scholarly conversations about Latinx children’s literature by looking at ‘outsiders within an already marginalized community. ’ . . . For those outside of Latinx children’s literature scholarship: This area of study tends to focus on stereotypical portraits of young Latinxs—that is, the chola/a/x, inner-city kids, at-risk youth, etc. But, in focalizing other Latinx youth populations, this volume encourages engagement with very real, seldom interrogated Latinx adolescents. . . . All in all, Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks: Outsiders in Chicanx and Latinx Young Adult Literature is a solid academic text, a great invitation for new Latinx youth literature scholars, and an intriguing library of excellent Latinx children’s books. "- Cris Rhodes, Latinxs in Kid Lit
"Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks successfully fulfills its aim of, and repeated call for, representation of a range of Latinx and Chicanx identities—a representation still lacking in YA fiction and academic analysis—in that it validates identities beyond the cholo/a while analyzing the difficulties of their intersection with and cultural dislocation from both white American and Latinx communities. The text raises many important points for further discussion, particularly on cultural spaces; voice and language; teen sexuality; arts and their intersection with personal and political consciousness; and the complex interplay between outsider status from one community resulting in insider status for or within another. "- Kristina West, International Journal of Young Adult Literature
"Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks recovers ‘weird’ and other marginalized Latinx and Chicanx youth from the margins of literary studies and our cultural imaginations. By making visible their stories and experiences, this collection presents possibilities for identity-making in ways that challenge hegemonic constructions of Latinx and Chicanx identities. This is a much-needed intervention. "- Larissa M. Mercado-López, associate professor of women’s studies at California State University, Fresno