Hello Readers! I’m sharing review of Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas as part of blog tour organized by Xpresso Book Tours. Many thanks to Giselle for tour invite and providing review copy via NetGalley.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Publication date: September 1st 2020
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys.
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Cemetery Boys was YA paranormal that revolved around a cemetery boy, Yadriel and a ghost boy Julian. It was about Latinx culture, traditions, importance of evolution in tradition with time, gender recognition, struggles of transgenders, acceptance, friendship, and love.
Writing was gripping, and captivating. It was written in third person narrative from Yadriel’s perspective. Plot was interesting. It stated with Yadriel performing a ceremony with help of his best friend and cousin, Maritza, to prove his community he was Burjo, a boy. But on the same night his cousin Miguel horribly died and nobody could find his body. In trying to find Miguel’s spirit and set it free, Yadriel performed summoning ritual but instead of Miguel, he summoned Julian Diaz. The first spirit he summoned as burjo turned out stubborn, he wouldn’t go to afterlife without finding out what happened to him and if his friends were okay. Yadriel had no choice but help Julian and in doing so he could figure out what happened to Miguel and prove he was worthy and belonged among burjos.
It was interesting to read how Yadriel was going to solve the mystery of what happened to Julian and Migiel, how he was going to keep Julian secret and what will happen when his family will find out he performed ceremony on his own disregarding traditions, and what will happen when time will come when he have to set Julian free.
Characters were realistic and relatable. Yadriel and Julian’s family and friends were interesting. Though they had hard time in accepting Yadriel’s gender, they were caring and sweet. Even though Julian and his brother fought a lot, he cared for Julian and was protective. Trio of Maritza, Yadriel, and Julian was amazing. I loved conversation between them and their bickering.
Maritza was awesome. She was confident, fiercely loyal, kick-ass girl. She was different from other Brujas, she was vegan and refused to be healer in which she had to use animal blood. She was interested in forging Brujo blades and wanted to follow her father’s footstep. Even being odd and people not accepting her quirkiness, she was comfortable in her own skin. She never let what other thought define her. What she did near end was amazing. She was second best character.
Julian was my favourite. This gay ghost boy gave life to book. He was full of life, confident, stubborn, tornado energy who never sat still, reckless and obnoxious, was not good in expressing his feelings, and needed temper management, but was fiercely loyal friend. He was nonchalant about his death but wanted to make sure his friends were okay. He took care of people he loved. I loved him for his loyalty and supporting Yadriel, bringing fun in his life.
Yadriel was great through out the book. He felt frustrated his family and community couldn’t accept he was trans boy and was tired of correcting his gender, being left out from brujo role and denied the ceremony they perform for brujo. I liked his rebellious element and the way her performed ceremony and summoned spirit on his own. He was reticent, didn’t like to be center of attention and panicked under pressure and yet he managed to find out who was the murderer and saved the community. I liked how much he grew after meeting Julian and became confident and lively.
I wouldn’t say it was there was romance but yes there was chemistry between Julian and Yadriel. It was slow built and lovely to read. Banter between them was fun to read and I loved how these two different and opposite nature souls complimented each other.
I had to google a lot in first few chapters as I didn’t know much about Latinx culture, food and tradition and book was filled with Latinx culture, history, and mythology. I enjoyed reading about Brujx community, descriptions of all ceremonies, and Dia de Muertos festival. I watched Coco last year and it helped in imagining the festival, all preparations and decorations. The story of Lady death and Xibalba was best part in the book. Own voice depiction was great. Author included all small things and struggles trans face in the book.
I could guess who was responsible for Julian and Miguel’s murder at around 50%. Nobody needs Sherlock to figure that out and yet it was interesting to see how Yadriel was going to figure that out and what he will do about it. All events after climax was a little surprising, I did expect something magical but not that much magical. I thought the end was going to be bitter, one or the other is going to end up hurt but I was wrong about that. End was surprisingly sweet and lovely.
Why 4.5 star-
Everything about this was good but it didn’t blow my mind away, I felt something was missing. Was it Great? Yes. Wow? Not so sure! As I said, it was little predictable.
Overall, Cemetery Boy heart-warming, entertaining, and impressive debut novel with realistic characters, own voice depiction, and Latinx culture.
Aiden Thomas is a YA author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Book Links :
Giveaway:Tour-wide giveaway (US only)
- Print copy of Cemetery Boys
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or going to add it to TBR. Which is your favourite Latinx book?
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