07 September, 2021

[Review] Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 1 September, 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/LGBTQIA+/Romance
ISBN: 97811250250469
Edition: Hardback (also available in audio and eBook)
Review Written: 29 July, 2021
Warnings: Blood, Transphobia, Death, Deadnaming, Violence, Grief, Death of parent, Murder, Gore, Child death, Body horror, Homophobia, Kidnapping, Bullying, Child abuse, Cursing, Panic attacks/disorders, Physical abuse, Racism, Fire/Fire injury, Animal cruelty, Animal death, Police brutality, Religious bigotry, Medical trauma
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his 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 up 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. 

See more by Aiden Thomas on his website.I absolutely loved this book. Cemetery Boys has been on my to read list since it first came out last fall and it absolutely did not disappoint.

Yadriel Flores just wants to be accepted as the brujo he is. The problem is, Yadriel's family isn't accepting of his gender and figure that if he can't fit into the role he was born as (a bruja to heal instead of a brujo to protect) then he isn't part of the community. Determined to prove everyone wrong, Yadriel performs his own binding ritual with the help of his cousin Maritza and receives the powers of the brujo from their patron, Lady Death.

The mysterious death and disappearance of his cousin Miguel leads Yadriel and Maritza into an abandoned part of the graveyard. There Yadriel finds an anchor, something holding a spirit between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Thinking it might be Miguel, Yadriel summons the ghost... only it's not Miguel. It's Julian Diaz, a guy from Yadriel's school who definitely isn't quite ready to be dead yet.

The trio end up teaming up to solve the mystery of where Julian and Miguel's bodies went, racing the clock to solve the mystery before Dia de Muertos arrives. Thomas's tale is a fast pace twist and turn through the city of Los Angeles, Yadriel learning to stand up for himself and to have courage in himself, and the budding romance between Julian and Yadriel. The surprising ending left me feeling fuzzy and warm, and I won't lie I almost cried when I read the ending.

I'd love to see more about the pair in the future, but for now I'll content myself with Aiden Thomas's next hit Lost in the Woods which promises to be a wonderful retelling of Peter Pan. I can't wait to see what other books come from this extremely talented writer.

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