Hi everyone! I was accidentally gone for a hot second there wasn’t I! I don’t really have any excuse other than I needed a few days to just lie around and do nothing except watch TikToks and play Among Us! But rewind about a week and I buddy read the amazing Cemetery Boys with Hsinju (check out their review here!) and I had such a great time! It was actually my first buddy read and I really enjoyed it, and even better, the book has become one of my new all-time favourites!
Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
Synopsis: 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.
Where to start with this book! Cemetery Boys was one of my most anticipated books of the year – with a synopsis like that can you really blame me? – and after seeing American reviewers rave about it a month before it was released in the UK, by the time my copy arrived I was dying to read it! And, of course, it absolutely did not disappoint!
Cemetery Boys follows Yadriel, who is determined to prove himself as a real brujo in front of his family and the rest of his city’s brujx. One night, he takes matters into his own hands, and with the help of his cousin Maritza, he performs the necessary ritual and, whilst trying to summon the ghost of his cousin, accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, who wants to find out what happened to him and the cause of his death. The plot was instantly engaging and at times I felt that we had been with the characters for much longer than merely the span of a couple of days! Although the overarching plot is Yadriel trying to prove himself whilst also trying to figure out what happened to his cousin, Miguel, and Julian, there are a few smaller plot threads that, if you keep an eye on, all tie into the main plot and everything just falls into place so beautifully! Not once did I find this book dragging – there was so much action, but even the quieter parts of the book packed a real emotional punch! Aiden Thomas crafted the world of this book so perfectly that I felt like I was right there with the characters, from the cool, mysterious graveyard filled with the spirits of dead brujx, to Yadriel’s warm, loving family home where his abuelita was always rustling up some delicious home-cooked meal!
The characters can always make or break a book for me, and it’s safe to say I adored the characters that Aiden Thomas has created! Yadriel, our main character, is a real softie! He studies hard and never misses a class at school, while also standing up for himself and others when the need arises. He’s extremely determined yet often too hard on himself. His cousin Maritza was a real shining star in the book – she’s fat and proud, she’s confident, she’s funny, she’s compassionate and she’s Yadriel’s biggest cheerleader! Julian is definitely my favourite character, though, and I really enjoyed the ADHD rep! Julian is mysterious and guarded but also just a giant golden retriever puppy – he’s also pretty much the dictionary definition of a himbo, and I love me a good himbo! Even the minor characters, like Julian’s group of friends, were so well fleshed out and I felt connected to them!
One of the main themes of the book is acceptance, and we see Yadriel really struggle, particularly for his father’s and grandmother’s acceptance of his identity as a brujo throughout the whole book. Whereas Julian is immediately accepting of his gender, this is really juxtaposed with his father’s almost constant accidental misgendering, which at times made this book a tough read. But despite the tough topics discussed, the book still manages to remain light and hopeful and multiple times had me grinning from ear to ear!
For fear of just rambling on about how much I adored this book I think I’m going to end the review here, but I can wholeheartedly say that if you are thinking of picking up this book – do it!! You won’t regret it!