Humboldt Park native uses work to share stories of Puerto Rican culture

Marisel Vera's latest novel is 'The Taste of Sugar'
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Marisel Vera's latest novel is getting recognition among readers.

Vera grew up in Humboldt Park and graduated from Clemente high school.

Through her work, Vera explores the experience of Puerto Ricans, on the island and in the diaspora, as a colony of the United States.

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Vera's latest novel, "The Taste of Sugar," tells the story of a young couple who leave Puerto Rico to work in the Hawaiian sugar plantations after they lose their coffee farm in the aftermath of the 1898 U.S. Invasion and the 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane. It was named Chicago Reader's 2020 "Best New Novel by a Chicagoan."

Vera is also the author of "If I Bring You Roses (Grand Central)," a story about a couple who leave Puerto Rico during the 1950s Operation Bootstrap, seeking the promised American dream in Chicago's factories.

It's been four years since Hurricane Maria, the deadly storm that struck Puerto Rico in September 2017. Vera's novel touches on the parallels of the island's 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane, and research shows how not much has changed in Puerto Rico.

To read more about Vera or purchase her books, click here.
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