Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys cover
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

by Aiden Thomas

Swoon Reads/ Feiwel & Friends, 2020
344 pages

Age 14 and older

Cuban/Mexican American Yadriel’s family are brujx. Women are healers, and men make sure spirits move to the land of the dead before turning evil. Yadriel is trans and his family has not accepted his true gender, so he hasn’t had his quinces, the ceremony where Lady Death affirms a 15-year-old’s power. In the days leading up to Día de Muertos in this parallel East Los Angeles, Yadriel, now 16, with the support of his best friend and cousin, Maritza, a bruja, secretly performs the quinces on his own. When his cousin Miguel dies unexpectedly, Yadriel is determined to find and release Miguel’s spirit to show his family he’s a true brujo. But he mistakenly summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, an obnoxious boy from his school, instead. When Julian refuses to move on until he’s sure the friends he was with when he died are alright, Yadriel hides him, hoping his family doesn’t find the annoying spirit staying in his bedroom. Yadriel is surprised to realize Colombian American Julian, gay like him, seems to understand him. Falling in love with a spirit wasn’t his plan, but the attraction and sexual tension between them builds, even as the mystery of what happened to both Julian and Miguel remains: Yadriel suspects their deaths are linked. This inventive, refreshing first novel features witty dialogue, cultural details as essential as air, and opportunities for reflection on what it means to be gay, trans, and part of a traditional Latinx family and community. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center