Review of Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys
by Aiden Thomas
High School    Swoon/Feiwel    352 pp.    g
9/20    978-1-250-25046-9    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-250-25051-3    $9.99

Unlike the rest of his family, Yadriel is kept from having a quinces, the traditional coming-of-age ceremony to become a brujo. Yadriel is trans and gay, i.e., “Head Black Sheep among the brujx.” Despite his family’s reluctance to even try and find out if gender identity will affect his abilities to guide spirits into the afterlife, Yadriel holds his own ceremony with the help of a fellow black sheep of the family (for her vegan principles, which preclude her using her healing magic), his cousin, Maritza. When another cousin meets an untimely death, Yadriel and Maritza seek answers of their own, teaming up with a mysterious spirit, Julian, who is also queer and has an unconventional found family. Packed with eerie adventure, tingly romance, and family drama, the novel lays bare the tension between upholding tradition and reaching full self-acceptance. Cheeky, relatable characters bring humor and lightness into Thomas’s debut, which also takes on themes of death, loss, abandonment, and rejection. The natural integration of phrases in Spanish, Día de los Muertos traditions, and varied community structures showcases the broad range of experiences that make up Latinidad.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Gabi K. Huesca

Gabi K. Huesca is a library associate at the DC Public Library in Washington, DC. She is a Master's of Library and Information Science student at the University of Maryland.

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