Chulito: a novel

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty.”

Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

 “Hilarious, unique, heartfelt and sharp. A wonderful read.”

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street and Caramelo


Chulito introduces a fresh, engaging, and stirring voice. Rice-González’s memorable characters live on the page with a force and verve and vulnerability that touches our heart. This is a beautiful debut.”

Jaime Manrique, author of Latin Moon in Manhattan


The Lambda Literary Review raved, “This dazzling debut takes the coming-out, coming-of-age narrative and gives it a fresh landscape...” 


Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the youth culture of Manhattan’s piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block.

Chulito, which means “cutie,” is one of the boys, and everyone in his neighborhood has seen him grow up including Carlos who was Chulito’s best friend until they hit puberty and people started calling Carlos a pato…a faggot.


Chulito rejects Carlos and buries his feelings for him, but when Carlos comes home from his first year away at college and they share a secret kiss, Chulito’s worlds collide as his ideas of being a young man, being macho, and being in love are challenged. Vivid, sexy, funny, heartbreaking, and fearless, this knockout novel breaks new ground as the first novel detailing a gay Puerto Rican experience in New York City.