“HAY NIÑAS CON PENE, NIÑOS CON VULVA Y TRANSFÓBICOS SIN DIENTES”
It’s Spooky Season, ghoul-friends! Let’s get Spooky Ooky Kooky Booky Nooky! I’m celebrating Halloween and #SpookyBookyNooky with CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas! This queer YA, fantasy, mystery, romance, coming-of-age story is pure magic!
Yadriel comes from an ancient ancestral lineage of brujx who have been granted magical powers by Lady Death: men are able to release spirits to the afterlife and women can heal the living. Yadriel feels like an outsider from his community because he has been denied the rite of passage to become a brujo because he is transgendered. But when his cousin mysteriously dies and the brujx cannot find his body, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove himself. While trying to solve the mystery, Yadriel mistakenly summons the ghost of fellow teen: bad boy Julian. Now Yadriel must help resolve Julian’s unfinished business while still proving himself to his family and community!
It’s very apparent that as a queer, trans, Latinx author himself, Aiden Thomas has written CEMETERY BOYS as a love letter to Latinx culture and queer identity. The vivid descriptions of the brujx traditions and Día de Muertos celebration were fascinating and informative. Trans identity is thoughtfully represented with nuanced discussion around chest-binders, proper pronouns, and deadnames. I loved that the story highlighted many different types of relationships: romantic, familial, chosen family, friendships, and cultural. I do feel like the strict gendering of the brujx magic didn’t necessarily fit with the inclusiveness of the story though the possibility of nonbinary and agender brujx was briefly touched on. And though I found the mystery a little predictable, the characters are spectacular and the journey is well worth it!
Do yourself a favor and read CEMETERY BOYS! This book has something for everyone: it’s got magic, mystery, first-love, loss, evil spirits, all while celebrating Latinx and queer identity! It will make you laugh, cry, and swoon! This Own Voice YA debut is an absolute triumph!
- Title: Cemetery Boys
- Author: Aiden Thomas
- Published: September 1, 2020 (Swoon Reads)
- Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Own Voice, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
- Booky Nooky Rating: * * * *