Spoiler Free Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas


Title: Cemetery Boys

Author: Aiden Thomas

Pub. Date: September 1st 2020

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Queer

Format: Audiobook

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 352 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBRO.FM

Whenever I think of this book I smile simply because I love the entire cast of characters. Our MC Yadriel is a Latinx trans boy growing up in L.A.who is trying to get his family to accept him for who he really is. This is no easy feat in an extensive family of Brujex who follow the traditions & spiritual beliefs that honor Lady Death. Yadriel hasn’t gone before Lady Death to be recognized as a real brujo & get his portaje (dagger) in large part because his family doesn’t believe she’ll accept him as trans. The ceremony with Lady Death is what grants Brujex the power to sever the ties a spirit has to the living. This in turn allows for the spirits to cross over, a responsibilty that most Brujex celebrate when their time comes. The Brujex community has just been rocked when one of their own goes missing. Search parties are formed, led by Yadriel’s father who is their leader. He has also forbidden Yadriel from participating in the search alongside the other men. Yadriel defies his fathers orders to stay behind & with the help of Maritza a sort of unconventional bruja *heart eyes* sets out to find answers. Performing the ritual for Brujex was HUGE! It meant Lady Death does accept him, what he didn’t expect was to accidentally conjure up the spirit  of the schools residential bad boy, Julian Diaz. Nor that he’d find Julian infuriatingly attractive…
🧡

Adri (Goodreads | Booktube Reading Vlog) who 100% made me run to pick this book up, has also given us the following content warnings: Misgendering, allusions to deadnaming, depictions of gender dysphoria, exploration of parental death, non-violent references to blood magic, some descriptions of self-harm (for ritualistic purposes)

“It’s astrology, and it totally makes sense!” Maritza continued. “His big, obnoxious Scorpio energy is invading your cozy Cancer safe space!”

I’m a sucker for astrology but to see fictional characters get assigned a zodiac sign is genius! I legit had a few moments where I found myself nodding along with Maritza in a “that makes sense cause he’s a Scorpio” moment haha! honestly it just added a layer of fun in getting to know these characters & got me invested. I grew affection towards Yadriel & found myself feeling over protective of his heart/feelings. Julian’s backstory was fleshed out giving us a better understanding as to why he was perceived a certain way. We see how his Columbian ethnicity was used against him to form stereotypes around him & his family. Dubbed a troubled kid who most likely belonged to a street gang, Julian found it easier to let others think what they may. There were moments between Julian & Yadriel where he questions the things he does. If in fact he was going to wait to be granted permission to be accepted as a trans Brujex…

Why do you have to prove anything to anyone?”
“It’s just how it is, how it’s always been. In order for them to let me be a brujo—”
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be you, Yads”

This has to be one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever read in YA Contemporary. I often found myself asking why Julian had to have passed away to begin with, it gave me a bittersweet feeling seeing them fall for one another. This is a story about acceptance and living in your truth, it’s about friendship & sweet innocent love. There’s a strong family at the core of this story, one that Yads loves wholeheartedly & who in turn love him. The fear Yad’s own father has over him has become a blockage in their relationship. Their relationship in particular had me all in my feelings wishing for the best outcome because the love between them is so great. Yadriel lost his mother at a young age but as a Brujex is able to spend one day with her every year when the veil is at its thinnest between the living and spirit worlds. I personally try to stay away from stories that delve into grief however this was done in a way I’ve never experienced before. I can go on and on for days on why this is a MUST read but the book community is already doing a PHENOMENAL job in singing it its well deserved praises 😉


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2 thoughts on “Spoiler Free Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas”

  1. I LOVED this book. I honestly cannot wait to read more things from Aiden Thomas! This was one of the most unique stories I have read in a while, and it makes me crave more centered around the things featured in this story! I’m so glad other people liked it as much as I did 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! That’s exactly what we need, readers who are excited and anticipating more books that feature diverse stories across all genres. I LOVED this book so much and saw bits of my own family and childhood sprinkled throughout. I’m stoked for Aiden Thomas 🙌🏽

      Liked by 1 person

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