Pubblicato in: Book preview

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Expected publication June 6 2020

Cemetery Boys was my first 2020 read and I couldn’t have started this reading year better.

Yadriel lives with his Latinx and traditional family, who’s struggling to accept his gender. To prove himself and to them he’s a real brujo, he decided, helped by his cousin and best friend Maritzka, to perform the ritual on his own, summoning a spirit and releasing him in the afterlife. Looking for his murdered cousin’s spirit, Yadriel finds himself with a different one: the spirit of Julian Diaz, the school bad boy. Determined to find what happened to his friends and himself, Julian and Yadriel make a deal, helping each other, so they can both reach their goals. But they will find themselves involved in a complex plot, a surprising “villain” and to realize saying goodbye it’s not so easy.

Cemetery Boys is the kind of book you don’t want to end. It’s the book you decide to read over and over, committing to memory quotes and pages and squealing in delight and fear because you’re so involved with the story and its characters. It’s the kind of book you have to finish, because you need to see what will happen next. And at the same time you don’t want to, because its world is full of magic, its characters amazing and you wanna know more and more.

I loved many things in this book. First of all, I have to admit: I’m a sucker for learning new traditions, new things, new stories. I’ve never heard anything about the brujeria. It’s not a surprise, since I live in Italy and I don’t know much about Yadriel’s world. So it was absolutely incredible and interesting learning about the traditions, about Lady Death, Bahlam, Xibalba, brujos and brujas. Aiden Thomas wrote a book so realistic, so incredibly engaging you could almost taste and smell Yadriel’s world, almost see the cemetery with the spirits, Tito and its marigolds, the calaveras and the magic. I loved reading about Lady Death and the brujos’ and brujas’ powers, their portaje; it was fascinating and thrilling learning their view of death and afterlife. The idea of being able to see a dead loved one was incredible.

The characters in Cemetery Boys are beautifully written it’s impossible not to love them or relate to them. Yadriel is the main character. He’s a trans boy, he’s gay and he’s struggling to be accepted by his family and community as a boy and a brujo. The only person able to understand him completely was his mother, who died last year and his cousin Maritka, always ready to support him and to be involved in his plans. Yadriel hates not being fully part of the brujx’s life, but he’s not the only one in his famiy who’s alienated. His uncle Catrix, even though should have been the leader of the brujx, was excluded because he hasn’t many powers. With Maritka, Tio Catriz supports and loves Yadriel, accepting him for who he is. Surrounded by his family, his brother Diego, his father Enrique and his Lita, Yadriel struggles to find his place with them and in the community. Yadriel is brilliant, funny and it was hard reading how he’s struggled (and struggling) against prejudices, transphobia and misgendering. He’s incredibly strong and he loves and respects his traditions and their powers, but he’s tired to fight to be himself, tired to accept others’ mistakes and to be the one out in his community. But Yadriel loves it and his family, so he’s ready to do anything he could to prove them who he is. It was a delight reading about a complex character like him.

Maritka is another complex and peculiar character. Both she and Yadriel are the black sheep in their community. Yadriel, because he’s trans and gay, Maritka because she’s vegan and to use the bruja’s powers she should use animal blood, so she’s refusing her healing powers. She’s smart and I love her pink and purple hair. Unlike his cousin, who is more introvert and hates bringing attention to himself, Maritka is extrovert, boisterous and really funny and supportive.

Julian. What can I say about Julian? Julian is the spirit Yadriel accidentally summoned and he’s obnoxious, loud, chatty and right away he’s seen as a “problem” to Yadriel and his plans. Yadriel needs to find his cousin, to release Julian’s spirit, to make his community and his family accept him in time for the Dia de Muertos. His days are few and his deal with Julian, promising him to check on his friends and find out what happened to him, make everything even more complicated. When Yadriel starts to realize he’s falling for Julian, attracted by his being fierce and protective, his being full of energy and fire things become even more difficult. Julian is an amazing character. I loved his energy, his fierceness, his questions, his curiosity his love for his family and friends. I have to admit, he wan’t what I expected him to be after reading the blurb and learning he’s the school bad boy. But he’s an amazing surprise. Julian is so pure, funny and I laughed so much reading about his interactions with Yadriel and Maritka or when he tries to learn his haunting powers.

I really liked how the book is stratified. Yadriel is struggling to prove himself to his family and community, but the murder of Miguel and his disappeareance and Julian’s presence lead him and Maritka to be involved into a complex and surprising plot and plot twists. I loved how the author wrote about important issues like transophobia, prejudices, racism (the difficulty of Miguel’s parents and Julian’s friends to fill a missing report and to make the police looking for missing kids), the importance of the family (not only the blood one, but the family one can create).

Written in third person, by Yadriel’s POV, I loved every page of Cemetery Boys. I enjoyed the mistery of the missing kids, learning new things and traditions. I really loved the relationship and love story bewteen Yadriel and Julian, their jokes, their bickering, their bond.

I fell in love with Cemetery Boys. I enjoyed the story so much. It was full of plot twists, revelations, gods and magic. It was the perfect book for me. The love story between Yadriel and Julian is sweet, complex and I loved every moment of it, leaving needing more about them. I loved their relationship, how they made a deal to help each other and slowly they get to learn more and more about themselves, their stories, their families, falling moment by moment in love with each other in a impossible situation. Julian is without filter and he was a surprise to Yadriel, who struggled all the time to be accepted. After his mother and his cousing, Julian becomes a person Yadriel can be himself with, without filters or explanations. Their trust in each other is complete and refreshing. Reading about him and Yadriel on the bed, listening to music and talking all night was one of my favourite part ever. I enjoyed a lot his relationship with Yadriel and I found myself so involved I squealed, cursed and cried in more than one occasion. It was beautiful seeing them falling page after page. This book is brilliant, heartbreaking and so important, full of characters brimming with life and energy, so intense you could almost touch them. I can’t wait to have this book in my hands.

Autore:

What you should know about me is: I'm in love with books. I love diving in them, living my heroine's and heroes' adventure, discovering new worlds and characters. I've always loved reading and writing. The idea of creating is thrilling and scary at the same time. 'I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."

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