by, Aiden Thomas
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 1st 2020
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.
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.
A book about a brujo in love with a ghost? Yes please! But what’s really great about Cemetery Boys is that it is so much more than a typical teen fantasy love story. In fact, there is SO much that’s wonderful about this book. I’m not really sure where to begin with this review.
Before reading Cemetery Boys, my knowledge of Dia de los Muertos was limited to watching the movie Coco with my kids and visiting the Mexico exhibit at Epcot Center. But by the end of this book, I was googling recipes for Pan de Muerto and sugar skulls. I loved the immersion into the culture of the brujos/brujas!
And then there are the characters. Yadriel and Julian are both such unique and interesting characters. Getting to know them and their individual struggles is so entertaining. There were times that, as a mother, I wanted to reach into the book and give them both a hug. They are wonderfully developed and feel very real, even though one of them is a ghost!
This book gives me SO MANY FEELS!! I’m really overwhelmed with love for this book and I can’t recommend it enough.
Cemetery Boys is a wonderful debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from Aiden Thomas in the future!