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Title : Cemetery Boys
Author : Aiden Thomas
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : September 1st, 2020
Publisher : Swoon Reads
Cemetery Boys is my first book by Aiden Thomas, so I don’t really know what to expect from this book. I do, however, have heard great things about it, so I was hoping I’ll end up enjoying this book too. Thankfully, Aiden manages to deliver such an interesting and captivating story, I end up loving Cemetery Boys.
This book follows Yadriel, whose only wish is to be acknowledged as a brujo. However, the brujx community refuse to perform the ritual, so he end up performing it himself, along with the help of his cousin Maritza. After Lady Death has blessed him as a brujo, he tried to test his power by summoning the ghost of his cousin, but somehow, he end up summoning the ghost of Julian, aka the school’s bad boy. Because of this, Yadriel has to help Julian uncover the mystery surrounding his death, which might be closer than Yadriel expected.
What I love the most from this book is actually the characters itself. The first-half of this book is quite slow, but I think that’s because Aiden wants us to get to know the characters better. Yadriel is pretty quiet and shy, while Julian is basically his opposite. I think Julian’s traits are what surprise me the most, since I was expecting the brooding, mysterious kind of bad boy, but that’s not the case. He’s actually loud, cheerful, and funny, and if he didn’t skip school a lot he might’ve been the class clown instead of the bad boy. Because of this opposite personality, Yadriel and Julian’s friendship (and eventually, romantic relationship) are pure golden and made me laugh out loud a lot.
“You’re insufferable,” he said, glancing around.
“Yeah, but I think you’re kinda into it”
Another thing that I want to talk about is the family aspect. Yadriel grew up in a tight-knit brujx community, and his family is basically the leader of the brujx. The brujx has magic system based on gender, where bruja’s power is focused on healing and brujo’s power is focused on sending souls to the afterlife. I think Aiden describes really well the struggle of being queer (specifically trans and gay) in a community with lots of traditions. Like, sometimes you hate your family for just following traditions blindly and end up not accepting who you are, but also it’s not that easy to hate your family. My point is, I love how Aiden handle the family matters here, since it felt real and honest.
“Just because we follow the ancient ways, does not mean we can’t also grow”
All in all, Cemetery Boys is a great story about loss, love, and acceptance. It also has a bit of murder-mystery in it, though I can’t say the twist surprise me (but it’s still executed well!). I definitely recommend this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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