Hey bookdragons! After Elatsoe, I am presenting you today another book that is PERFECT for this Fall and for the Latinx Heritage Month: Cemetery boys!
Also FYI it is sold out and on backorder almost everywhere, so I highly recommend you try the audiobook version** (telling you more about it further down).
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.
*Before starting my review, I wanted to link to you Ownvoices reviews and invite you to check them out:
– My honey reads
– Perpetual Pages (YT)
– The reading bookfairy
– Every book a doorway
– Geek declassified*
This book…. I don’t even know where to start. Well, the basic idea is: I LOVED it, and you must add it to your TBR! That’s all you need to know haha.
Now, if you are curious about what to expect in this book: there are ghosts, there are brujx, there are a lot of thoughts on gender (as our MC Yadriel is trans in case you missed that information), and there is a super cute romance. I know I know I know, I have said many times that I am not a fan of YA romance…. and then here I am telling you how much I swooned over Yadriel and Julian. What can I say? There is a soft heart hidden under all my layers of cynism! But I’m getting ahead of myself, I don’t want to spoil too much haha.
Also, I’m exagerating a bit, the romance is not the main focus of the story, just one of the piece of cake you take on the side, and that makes everything better!
Ain’t afraid of no ghost
It all start with Yadriel, wanting to prove to his family that he is a brujo, that he can do what the men of his latinx family can do, as he is one himself. Unfortunately, not all of his family members accept this, and he was deprived of the ritual that would have allowed him to guide ghosts to the afterlife.
But Yadriel is determined, and with his cousin Maritza, they will do the ritual on their own. Poor timing on their part as the night of the ritual is also the night one of their cousin mysteriously disappears… and while thinking he is summoning him, Yadriel actually calls another ghost, one of the cute bad boy from his school who is also missing! And while trying to help Julian (bad boy – but not the heterosexual romance kind of bad boy with all the problems that come with that) make peace with his life and pass over, the trio might discover that these two disappearances could be connected to something bigger… and more dangerous!
The brujx world
In addition to this investigation side of the story, it was such a great experience to dive into Yadriel’s family faith and rituals, how they came to serve Lady Death, the importance of Dia de los Muertos, and everything attached to their latinx culture. I really loved being invited into that world, hidden inside our own (cause yes there is still school and everything!)
Queer and latinx
And of course, if this book is also talked a lot about it is for the trans rep by an OwnVoices author. I think it is sooo important to read this kind of books, well first, because trans deserve to see themselves in stories too, and also because from an outsider perspective, it can help us understand more the realities of being trans. The good and the bad. Here we see Yadriel struggling with his family using his dead name, or if someone sees him without his binder. We also see him being more and more confident in himself. And of course, he is not limited to that. Yadriel is a young boy, super emotional and sensitive, with a giant heart and there are no other ways but for you to love him!
One last point on this again too long review: the audiobook narrator. Honestly, try this format for the book you won’t regret it! Macmillan audio worked here with an Ownvoices narrator and it makes all the difference: Avi Roque is also latinx and trans/non-binary, and you can feel they really embody Yadriel’s character super well! That’s really one way to make the book even better to read!
In a few words
Aiden Thomas really managed here to create a beautiful world for us to step into, with latinx inspired culture, ghosts you don’t want to get rid of, and representing with talent a trans main character. This book is captivating from beginning to end, and you don’t want to miss the chance to read it this Fall!
See you for a cup,
** referal link, you get a free audiobook if you use it 🙂