Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Audience: Young Adult
Taken from Goodreads
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.
Cemetery Boys has become a new favourite of mine; I absolutely loved the story, message and romance. Cemetery Boys is Aiden Thomas’s debut novel, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect heading into it, as I am not usually a massive fan of an authors debut novel. But Cemetery Boys was amazing, and I’m so glad that I picked it up.
To start with, the characters. Both of the main character’s were just incredible. I loved their distinct personalities and the way they both stood up for what they believed in. Yadriel is a 16 year old, queer, trans, Latinx boy whose family have struggled to accept his transition. On the surface, they have accepted who he is, but at different moments it is clear that they have not truly accepted him, as they didn’t let him earn his brujo powers when he turned 15. I loved how strong-willed he is, that he is going to prove them wrong by getting his powers with only his cousin Maritza’s help. Julian is a ghost who Yadriel accidentally summons when he first gets his powers. I loved Julian’s protective instincts towards his friends, and how well he managed to adjust to being a ghost. I also loved their interactions and banter and felt that they made the story as great as it is.
Yadriel and Julian had one of the cutest relationships I have read in a fantasy this year. I loved how their relationship started as a friendship and how it gradually developed rather than being immediate and feeling like Insta-love. The support that they had for each other, and lengths that they would go to defend each other was really amazing to read and felt really believable. I would love to get a story that is just more of their relationship and seeing it develop.
One thing that I did love learning within Cemetery Boys was all the Latinx cultures and the meaning behind Día de Muertos and all the different traditions. It was lovely to see them all incorporated into the story and how they related to the story. None of them felt forced, and it is something that I am going to look to find out more information about because I found it really interesting.
Aiden Thomas’s writing style was really easy to fall into and become quickly engrossed in the story. I didn’t even notice how fast I was turning the pages because I was so involved in the story. At no point did it feel like the story was moving too quickly; it felt like it had just the right pace. My only slight issue with Cemetery Boys was that I worked out the ending pretty early on when reading. This didn’t detract from my reading experience, but I would have loved it to have surprised me a bit more.
Overall Cemetery Boys has become one of my favourite books of 2020, and it will become a book that I will often reread in the future. I can’t wait to see what Aiden Thomas is going to write in the future. I believe their next book is going to be a Peter Pan retelling, so I am very excited about that.
Buy Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: Bookshop.org