Seattle Reads, the citywide book group started by The Seattle Public Library in 1998, has announced its book selection for 2022: “The House of Broken Angels,” the bestselling 2018 novel by renowned Mexican American writer Luis Alberto Urrea.

“In ‘The House of Broken Angels,’ Urrea masterfully handles big themes like grief, death and Mexican American identity, leavening them with humor and joy,” said Stesha Brandon, Literature & Humanities programs manager for The Seattle Public Library. “Urrea is a generous storyteller of the first rank, and we are thrilled to bring him to Seattle for our first in-person Seattle Reads events in three years.”

In the book, the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved relatives during a joyous and bittersweet weekend. The Washington Post called “The House of Broken Angels” a “pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery and plenty of swagger,” and the Boston Globe called it "an immensely charming and moving tale.” The Seattle Times chose the novel for its May 2020 book club.

“After reading over a dozen other books by Latinx authors, ‘The House of Broken Angels’ rose to the top because it reminded me of my own familia with its heartfelt humor and intergenerational family drama in a West Coast setting,” said Catalina M. Cantú, co-founding member and Board President of La Sala, a Seattle-area organization that creates and catalyzes opportunities for Latino/a/x artists and arts organizations. “Working with the Seattle Reads staff at The Seattle Public Library has been an insightful joy for La Sala staff, and we look forward to the October community readings, which will be an opportunity for our comunidad to hear and meet a remarkable writer and role model in Luis Alberto Urrea.” La Sala served on the Seattle Reads selection committee as well as a planning partner.

Urrea will visit Seattle from October 19-20, 2022 to participate in Seattle Reads events. Look for more details on Seattle Reads programs later this year, as well as a discussion guide, at



Copies of the book are available in the Library’s catalog in both English and Spanish. Limited copies will also be available for informal borrowing (meaning you don’t need to check out the copies) at most Library locations in English and Spanish.



In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly 100, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that, although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.

Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.

Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, “The House of Broken Angels” is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best.



A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonfiction “The Devil’s Highway,” Luis Alberto Urrea is also the bestselling author of the novels “The Hummingbird’s Daughter,” “Into the Beautiful North,” and “Queen of America,” as well as the story collection “The Water Museum,” a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, a Pushcart Prize, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among many other honors. He lives outside Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.



Seattle Reads is a citywide book group that encourages people to read and discuss the same book. It’s designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion. Everyone is invited to participate in Seattle Reads by reading the featured book, joining in a book discussion, and/or attending programs with the featured writer.

Seattle Reads is presented in partnership with La Sala, El Centro de la Raza and Seattle Escribe, and is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation. Additional support provided by media sponsor The Seattle Times and Back Bay Books.

For more information, visit, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask Us.