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Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Libertad

This is a must read of 2024 and an emotionally heart wrenching book, that you should be adding to your TBR right now! Libertad is a deeply moving story of life, love, and a contentious political landscape in Honduras that could tragically affect Libi’s dreams for the future.

A queer YA coming-of-age set during the rigged Honduran presidential election, about a young poet discovering the courage it takes to speak her truth about the people and country she loves.

As the contentious 2017 presidential election looms and protests rage across every corner of the city, life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras churns louder and faster. For her part, high school senior Libertad (Libi) Morazán takes heart in writing political poetry for her anonymous Instagram account and a budding romance someone new. But things come to a head when Mami sees texts on her phone mentioning a kiss with a girl and Libi discovers her beloved older brother, Maynor, playing a major role in the protests. As Libertad faces the political and social corruption around her, stifling homophobia at home and school, and ramped up threats to her poetry online, she begins dreaming of a future in which she doesn’t have to hide who she is or worry about someone she loves losing their life just for speaking up. Then the ultimate tragedy strikes, and leaving her family and friends—plus the only home she’s ever known—might be her only option.

Check out the stunning cover below and then scroll down to read an excerpt of the highly anticipated novel.

An excerpt from Libertad by Bessie Flores Zaldívar:

I was drunk. I was very, very drunk.

I looked at Cami looking at herself in the mirror. She’d also placed her phone face-up on the sink, the flashlight bouncing off the ceiling and onto the mirror. She pulled her hair up with one hand and used the other to fan air onto her exposed neck. She was wearing a nude lipstick that matched her skin tone. Had I noticed that before?

My friend. Best friend. With the sharp cheekbones and curled eyelashes. My best friend that I didn’t really treat like any of my other friends. And none of my other friends treated me like she did. But aren’t all friendships different? Many girls who’re friends must be exactly like me and her. They must hold hands under tables and stay on their phones with each other until they fell asleep each night and plan hangouts for just the two of them without calling them that, and, and, and . . .

All the thinking made me dizzy. Time was moving slower, somehow. I leaned my forehead against the door and closed my eyes. I heard Camila shut off the faucet, and waited for her to nudge me aside, to tell me it was time to round up our friends.

I waited. And waited. Had it been three seconds or five minutes? I was about to turn around when I felt her hand on my shoulder. An easy what’s up was on the tip of my tongue, but I stopped myself just short of saying it. Somehow, I knew. Knew to turn around slowly to face her. Knew to draw my face close to hers. To let our foreheads touch. Our mouths found each other. And we were kissing.

We were kissing. She tasted like everything—toothpaste and spit and something wild-eyed, lawless. She dropped her phone and the noise was startling, but we didn’t stop. Not immediately. Then her mouth was on my neck and I could hear my heartbeat, louder than the music, and—


My heartbeat was louder than the music because the music had stopped. Time hit play, and everything that had spun in slow motion a second ago rushed back to regular speed around us.

BANG. BANG. The knock shook my backbone. Why had the music stopped?

“Fuck,” Camila mumbled, grabbing her phone from the floor.

I turned and opened the door, the light outside blinding. I was too drunk on booze and my best friend’s mouth to process that the overhead lights of La Esquina shouldn’t have been on. But I was just sober enough to recognize the person in front of me.


“Let’s go.” His mouth was tight. “The police are here. We gotta go. Now.”


For a second, I wondered if what he was saying and what I had just done was related. I felt dizzy, disoriented. I knew Camila was right behind me and I wanted to turn back around to see her face but couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

“What do you mean why? You’re both underage. Hurry the fuck up.”

Penguin Teen