Skip to main content


Every Wednesday The Latina Book Club features excerpts from exciting novels by Latino authors.  

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

Disco is making a comeback! And we are going to disco our way into the New Year with author Meg Medina.  She has provided a playlist to get us started and an excerpt from her book, BURN BABY BURN. Enjoy!

Mini Interview with Meg:

Q:   Your book is set in the 1970s, so do you dance disco? What's your favorite disco song to hustle to?
Meg Medina: Boogie Shoes by K.C and the Sunshine Band. (The full playlist for the novel is listed after the excerpt.)

Q:  What is your heroine's (Nora's) favorite Latino food? What is yours?
Meg: More would probably love arroz con leche (rice pudding) because it’s sweet and cheap to make. But I like arroz con frijoles negros and a chunk of lechón. Don’t tell my doctor. 

Q:  Where do you plan to be when the bell drops on 2017?
Meg: I’ve been thinking a lot about 2017, and what it might hold for all of us. If we’re ruling out “under my bed,” I guess I want to be enjoying a nice glass of champagne with Javier and our friends…right in our own living room. 

Learn more about Meg Medina and her books at


By Meg Medina
Candlewick Press

I think sheepishly of Mima, who always tells me not to walk this way alone, especially not at night. A thousand times she’s warned me, and I always sneer at her dramatic lectures about this patch of weeds and broken glass, about the dark corners where a girl could be pushed, dragged off to the dead end, and then God Knows What. It has always seemed so stupid, so Mima.

But now . . .

I stare ahead at the gaping shadows we’ll have to walk through and wish we had just waited for the next bus. I think of the graffiti and the broken bottles in there, the smell of urine that sometimes chokes you when you walk by. Suddenly I think of the murder in Forest Hills.

“We just need to get past the underpass. We’ll get close and run,” I whisper as Kathleen and I link arms.

I practice our sprint in my mind the way athletes do. We’ll race through that patch and break through to the other side, victorious. It will take only a few seconds, no more.

But as we get closer, my feet slow down, and it feels as though I’m trying to walk through molasses. Kathleen slows down, too. Each tree trunk we pass makes us skittish. Anyone could be hiding behind there in the shadows.

I hear a man’s voice in my head.

Hey, girls.

Click, click, click, like a gun cocking over and over.

It’s just our boots, I tell myself, closing my eyes. Move faster.

But behind my eyelids, an ugly picture waits. Kathleen’s pretty white coat is soaked with blood as she lies on the ground.

“I don’t want to,” Kathleen whispers suddenly. “Let’s go back. We can call my mom from a pay phone. She’ll be pissed, but she’ll get us.”

I pause, unsure. Northern Boulevard seems so far behind us, and the shops are all closed and dark. We’re already at the trestle. We’ll only have to run twenty, maybe thirty steps. We’re practically adults, aren’t we? Nearly eighteen, as Kathleen always says. Not scared little girls.

“We’re almost there,” I say stubbornly. “We’re just psyched out from the stupid movie.”

And with that, I pull us into the darkness.

The temperature has dipped again for the night, and the spring chill makes me shudder. “We’re fine,” I say.

“We’re fine,” Kathleen repeats.

Click, click, click.

But Kathleen stops again. This time, she raises her finger and points ahead without a sound. A parked car has come into view. It’s up on the sidewalk, headlights off. Why didn’t we see it before?

Someone is definitely inside.

The door opens, and I suck in my breath as a tall man slips out of the driver’s side and faces us.

Everything happens quickly after that. A bright light shines in our faces, blinding us. In that fraction of a second, I see a gun at his waist, one of his arms outstretched. I don’t even have time to scream. Instinctively I yank Kathleen to the ground and cover my head, waiting for the blast.###

Excerpt published with permission. All rights reserved by author.

Order your copy of BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina by clicking here.

Playlist for BURN BABY BURN
provided by Meg Medina
Dazz by Brick
Give Up the Funk by Parliament
Do What You Wanna Do by the T-Connection
Boogie Nights by Heatwave
Dance With Me by Orleans
Love to Love You, Baby by Donna Summer
Don’t Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston
Car Wash by Rose Royce
Disco Inferno by the Trammps
Turn the Beat Around by Vicki Sue Robinson
Sleepwalker by The Kinks
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Hotel California by the Eagles
The Wall by Pink Floyd
God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols
I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement by The Ramones
Rock and Roll by Led Zepplin (The Song Remains the Same)

Happy Reading and Happy New Year