I’ve been looking forward to September releases since last year okay? But one of my most anticipated from September is Cemetery Boys. Plus everyone I know who have read it adored it so I had the highest expectations ever going in. And they were all 100% right. Keep reading this book review to see what I loved about Cemetery Boys!
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
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I finished Cemetery Boys in a blink. Thomas is able to balance complex, endearing, hilarious characters with a fast paced plot that will have you cancelling dinner plans. At its core is a story about the pain of having your existence denied. Not only is Yadriel trans and gay, but he’s trying to prove to his family, and community, that he can be a brujo. Throughout Cemetery Boys, Thomas presents the pain, and rage, of being overlooked, having the essence of yourself denied, in a few different characters who are all struggling, in varying degrees, against the expectations of their communities and family.
At the same time, Cemetery Boys is full of character and heart. Yadriel is a precious soul, trying to figure out his powers and his new feelings. Julian is the sweetest cinnamon roll who I will defend forever. This may be corny, or unhelpful for me to say, but the characters felt so genuine. Their mistakes felt like we could have made the very same ones. Their moments of triumph felt even sweeter. And don’t get me started on how much I loved Maritza and the strong family and Latinx culture throughout the book.
Cemetery Boys is a homage to family and Latinx culture. It’s a story that celebrates self-acceptance, second chances, and forgiveness. When we feel alone and isolated, and the lengths of what we will do to claim what we believe is ours. A plot which will captivate you as it becomes even more multi-faceted, illustrating that death doesn’t change as much as we thought it would. Greed and pain can corrupt our intentions, our feelings of family, and right and wrong.
Until September 1st, you can submit your receipt to get some characters cards and a signed book plate – they are stunning!