Last review for today! Hello, hello!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Synopsis From The Book
adriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
Bestowed by the ancient goddess of death, Yadriel and the gifted members of his Latinx community can see spirits: women have the power to heal bodies and souls, while men can release lost spirits to the afterlife. But Yadriel, a trans boy, has never been able to perform the tasks of the brujas – because he is a brujo.
When his cousin suddenly dies, 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 not his cousin. It’s Julian Diaz, the resident bad boy of his high school, 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.
Fantasy | YA – PW |Attempted Murder, Partial Rejection of Identity | Identity, Coming of Age, Friendship, Self Worth
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Soooooo I have book club in 24 hours. I have not read this book. I’ve heard so many great things about it and my reading MEH has bled over into an extreme dread of reading this book. Like it hits all the points that I should like, but like. I’m scared? I’m unmotivated to read? IDK But I will persevere. I got book club to go to. I will do this.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
WHAAAAA Okay that was so good, just as I expected. I learned so much which is nice. IDK if it solved my issue with reading books, but it def did get my hype, so there is that. I adored so much of this book and while the time line was short, there was a lot that happened and I love.
Yadriel and his best friend, Maritza, sneak into a the cemetery behind his house to perform a ritual he had been denied for a year. Yadriel was determined to have no attribute for magic after failing (and killing a cat) with healing magic that he was “supposed” to have. However that is bruja magic and Yadriel is a brujo, and thus he and Maritza do the ritual for his magic to allow him to send spirits back to the after life. It succeeds, proving that Lady Death sees Yadriel as a brujo as well, even if the rest of his human community has a hard time understanding or accepting Yadriel’s transitioning.
Shortly after completion, both Maritza and Yadriel feel a weight on them that is the violent death of one of their own: Yadriel’s cousin, Miguel. They race back to the others and find out that Miguel is missing. After being rejected by his family to help search, Maritza and Yadriel try to summon Miguel to find him and how he died. Instead they summon a boy named Julian. Julian Diaz was the hot boy at school and his last memories are of going black after being jumped.
The three investigate Julian’s disappearance as well as getting to know each other. Julian tells Yadriel of his friends and Yadriel speaks on how being a brujo will help him be accepted, and Julian asks if its for the others to accept of for Yadriel to accept himself. After school, the three find Julain’s friends who know he’s missing but not that he’s dead. Julian throws a fit and one of Julian’s friends agrees to help talk to Julian’s brother. After school the next day (where Julian helps convince Yadriel to get the confidence to use the male restroom at school), they talk to Rio, Julian’s brother. Julian tells Yadriel of all the pasts of his friends and agrees to have the next day as his last.
That day they skip school, Yadriel steals a car that was left for Julain and they go to a bonfire that is broken up by the cops, and kiss under the moonlight somewhere secluded. They make their way back to the Dia de Muertos celebrations with Yadriel’s community. Yadriel tries to send Julian to the afterlife and fails, only for Julian to spasm out (he had before). Yadriel and Maritza track him to an underground cellar/basement where they find the bodies of four people: Julian, Miguel, and two others. Yadriel’s uncle, who also did not become a brujo (due to actual lack of magic) was trying to summon a demon from another world to wipe out all the brujx people and damn them forever (basically to make up for their sins). Yadriel makes it so that his uncle is sent alone and he summons Lady Death to save the others. She can not, but Yadriel is able to at the cost of his own life. Maritza saves his life. Julian immediately wakes up and becomes hostile to all those around him, threatening anyone who tries to come close to Yadriel. Yadriel’s family comes at Miguel’s call and they all go to the hospital.
Julian tries to get to Yadreil, unwilling to be away from him, but the doctors, his brother, and friends won’t let him move too much. Yadriel, when he wakes up, goes running to Julian and the two hug and kiss. The next day, Yadriel and Maritza are officially welcomed to the brujx community.
What I Liked:
Yadriel; LOL I love him. The fact that he corrects everyone killed me. I was dying every time he had to correct Julian (and I’m almost certain that Julian did it on purpose after a minute). I’m happy he got much of what he wanted.
Julian; Lol this wild dog like kid. Look when he became protective over Yadriel, I about lost it. I love him and all his sass and protection of those he cares about. Ride or Die all the way, and I adore him for it.
Maritza; She’s hilarious and sweet. I love that she wants to be a metal worker also that she’s vegan and won’t use her powers for that reason. She was a very different counter to Yadriel and his uncle (both who were not able to be brujos at all for different reasons.)
Spanish (Language); So I know no spanish. Did that make me confused? No. Was I LIVING for the fact that in the whole book there was no “spanish words” what it means in english. YES. Look, I’m find using translate apps. Better, a good book will give all the context clues to what something means without me having to look it up (which this did). It felt so natural and I love it, thanks.
Brujx Lore and Culture; I knew nothing of this part of Latinx culture before this. Well I knew a few parts but nothing like this. I really did like getting to know more about the whole of the magic system and how it tied into their culture, as well as how their culture depicted their lives. It is most certainly making me want to look into so much more and I love that. Thanks!
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I need more interaction of Julian’s friends. I need to know more about all of them. ALL OF THEM.
“Remember why we’re doing this.”
“So they’ll see that I’m a brujo.”
“Well, yeah, but other than that.”
“Spite!” – 13
“Queer folks are like wolves. We travel in packs.” – 125
‘No, it wasn’t the end. It was a better beginning.” – 342