Reviews

Cemetery Boys — Aiden Thomas

January 27, 2022

Cemetery Boys by Aiden ThomasTITLE: Cemetery Boys
AUTHOR: Aiden Thomas
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: YA
PAGES: 344pg

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.

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“Queer folks are like wolves. We travel in packs.”

First of all, Cemetery Boys was my first major re-introduction into YA fantasy after taking almost two years off from the genre, and let me say that it was literally one of the best possible stories I could have chosen to break my hiatus with. YA fantasy used to be my most commonly read genre, so I got a bit burnt out and thought I had just worn out my welcome with it, but Cemetery Boys reminded me of everything I adore so much about the incredible offerings the world of YA fantasy gives us. This is a story full of self-discovery, and self-love, and hope, and forgiveness, and healing, and it is full of some of the most lovable characters I’ve read in a long time.

Yadriel is such a delightful narrator to spend time with. He’s impossible not to love and root for, and I just wanted to climb into these pages and grab some of his family members by the shoulders and shake them for not recognizing the wonderful human he is. Watching him deal with the casual transphobia and erasure in his home was a painful reality to witness, which made his emotions when some of those family members apologized and began to truly realize how wrong they were even more powerful. And then there’s Maritza, who is such a hilarious and fiercely protective cousin and best friend, I knew I’d adore her from the moment she was introduced.

He gave everything and expected nothing in return.
Yadriel’s heart ached.
No, none of them deserved Julian Diaz.

Finally, Julian exudes all of the best himbo energy I love to see in a love interest. He’s dopey at times, a little oblivious, volatile and young — but compassionate, protective, supportive, and honest, and I love him. I think one of my favorite moments in the entire book was when Yads spotted Julian’s graffiti message about transphobes (IYKYK). Loving Julian so much made the entire scenario tug on my heartstrings every step of the way, because knowing that he’s a ghost and his entire life should have been ahead of him just hurts once you realize how important this kid is, and how much everyday greatness he’s meant for.

The magical elements in Cemetery Boys are captivating and lovely, and feel like the most brilliant love story to many walks of Latinx spirituality that I found myself needing more, more, more information about how the brujx magic and rituals worked and about the deities referenced throughout the book. The mystery that plays out was probably the only part of the story that I didn’t fully connect to, but I think that’s because I was so enraptured by the characters and the magic that the mystery felt like a side arc that I could have taken or left. That said, I still enjoyed how it played out and was quite surprised by some of the developments near the end!

All in all, Cemetery Boys is a gorgeous book from start to finish and is entirely deserving of every ounce of the hype it’s received since it came out. I’m so grateful to have read this, and will absolutely be reaching for more of Aiden Thomas’ books in the future. ♥

Buddy read with Malka!

content warnings →
WARNINGS (no spoilers):

transphobia, misgendering, deadnaming, loss of a parent, grief, loss of family members, minor self-harm for magical purposes, use of animal blood for magical purposes, murder, extensive discussion of death and spirits, mentions of anti-Latinx racism and cultural appropriation

representation →

Yadriel is Cuban-American, gay, and a trans boy; Julian is Colombian-American and gay; most side characters are Latinx; one side character is a trans girl

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15 Comments

  • Reply Caro @ bookcheshirecat January 27, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    So very happy that you loved Cemetery Boys as well!! I read it in 2020 and it became one of my favorites of the year 💗 Julian also really tugged at my heartstrings, he deserves the world 🥺

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries February 3, 2022 at 10:46 pm

      Yes, Julian absolutely DOES deserve the world! He’s so precious!!! I’m glad you liked it too!

  • Reply Books Teacup and Reviews January 27, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    I enjoyed this and loved romance and culture. great review!

  • Reply frayedbooks January 27, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    I’m so glad you loved this one! It pleasantly surprised me! I didn’t love Lost in the Never Woods, but I still look forward to reading what Aiden Thomas writes next!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries February 3, 2022 at 10:47 pm

      I’ve heard a LOT of people say that Lost didn’t live up to the hype that CB had for them, and that makes me sad! I still will give it a try, but I’m probably more excited for Aiden’s next book than I am for Lost in the Never Woods tbh! 😅

      • Reply frayedbooks February 3, 2022 at 10:57 pm

        Apparently Lost is what Aiden actually wrote first, but CB is what ended up selling & was published first. So I kinda felt that while reading Lost….but yeah, I looking forward to Aiden’s next book as well!

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries February 3, 2022 at 11:06 pm

          Oooohh, I didn’t know that! That makes so much sense, because one of the big complaints I’ve heard is that the writing isn’t as polished as CB. Hmm, maybe I’ll put that one off for now, lol!

          • frayedbooks February 4, 2022 at 10:29 am

            It did make sense especially after I read it! Yeahhhh I wouldn’t rush into Lost, you aren’t missing much by not reading it now… (or ever LOL)

  • Reply tasya @ the literary huntress January 28, 2022 at 6:45 am

    Ahh glad to see you loved it, it’s one of my favorite books! <3

  • Reply My Favorite Book Bloggers | 2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge – Bookish Wanderess January 30, 2022 at 11:01 am

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  • Reply ChapterMalliumpkin January 31, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    I’m so glad you loved this! When I read it, I fell absolutely in love! 💙 I’ve been debating doing a reread of it soon too. This might be the kick I need to do so.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries February 3, 2022 at 10:54 pm

      You totally should! ♥ This definitely feels like a book I will happily re-read in the future!

      • Reply ChapterMalliumpkin February 4, 2022 at 10:24 am

        *calculates which box I packed Cemetery Boys in and just debates buying a brand new copy* Hahah 😂 Yes! If you ever want to re-read it together in the future, let me know!

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