Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: September 1, 2020 by: Swoon Reads
Rating: 5/5 stars
CW: transphobia, deadnaming, misgendering, death of a family member
Yadriel was born into a strict Latinx family who are brujx. His family can summon ghosts and help them to cross over in the afterlife. However, Yadriel struggles to fit into his family because he is trans, and he faces constant belittling from his family who fail to see him as the brujo he is. In his quest to prove himself, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian, a teen bad boy who wants to figure out the truth behind his death before he is willing to cross over. With the help of his cousin Maritza, Yadriel seeks to help Julian, however the more time Yadriel spends with Julian, the less willing he is to let him go.
When I finished this book, I tweeted that THIS is why I read YA. Even though I am completely behind on reviews right now and read this book months ago, (don't judge), this statement still rings true. YA should produce relatable, heartwarming characters who find themselves in their own unique coming of age journey. You should want to root for these characters. This book did exactly that.
Let's start off with the fact that the main characters in this book were some of the best written characters I have ever read. Yadriel is this determined, strong boy who is passionate about his identity of a brujo even if his family fails to accept him. His cousin Maritza was badass, hilarious, and I loved the detail of her being really into animal rights. Julian was this soft boy with a hardened exterior that you just know is loyal to those he loves. Each and every character in this book is struggling with some sort of piece of their identity, but by the end of the book they really come into their own and achieve peace in their journey. This was beautiful to see.
I loved the interweaving of funny banter, with dramatic moments, with fantastical elements. I think Thomas did an amazing job at bringing in their Latinx culture into this fantasy story. I loved the fantastical elements and the way the rituals were explained. Thomas really went in-depth with the explanation of these practices, which is needed especially for those unfamiliar with them. But this book wasn't too fantasy heavy in the sense where it became overwhelming. There was still some hilarious banter between the young characters, and some important conversations surrounding gender and transphobia. All components worked together to create a cohesive unit.
I would also like to mention that this author seems like one of the sweetest people on earth. When I tweeted that I loved the book they immediately replied and even thanked me by name, which warmed my heart. It made me so happy that an author would take the time out of their day to thank readers who felt impacted by their book. That is reason enough to pick up this book if you haven't already.
I'll also say that I would recommend reading this book in the fall time. That's when I read it and the book does centre around Día de los Muertos. If you can hold off until then to read it (which is so hard, I know), then I think this book really helps to establish a magical atmosphere that goes along with the time of year. Of course, the book will still be amazing no matter when you read it, but it does give off some amazing energy of the October/November season.
Overall, I hope you love this book as much as I do. Aiden Thomas has now quickly became an auto-buy author for me, and I am so happy with the amazingly talented YA authors who are now taking the world by storm.
Have you read Cemetery Boys? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess