“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas

About the book, from Macmillan:

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true 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 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.”

About the Author, Aiden Thomas:

“Aiden Thomas is a trans, Latinx, New York Times Bestselling Author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.”

Why I selected Cemetery Boys for the October 2022 Giveaway:

  • The two main characters, Yadriel and Julian, have amazing chemistry and you can’t help but root for them! There was tension, warmth, and a lot of pining – and to see them fall in love despite the conflicts all around them was charming and delightful ❤
  • Themes of family (both immediate and found family) are spotlighted in a heartfelt and authentic way. There’s Yadriel and Maritza’s friendship, Julian and his brother’s relationship, and the found family antics between Julian and his group of friends. Even Yadriels’ relationship with his family evolves in some really wonderful (but seemingly realistic) ways as the story progresses!
  • The vibrancy of the Latinx culture is a key highlight of the book – everything from the food, to the various traditions around Dia de Los Muertos, to the family dynamics: the Latinx culture was brilliantly infused throughout this story.
  • This book shared the nuances and struggles of Yadriel as a trans man. We see him go through a lot of firsts as a trans man, and also see some of the more painful instances of deadnaming and misgendering – often by his own family. Although there was pain, there was also hope in his story. It’s wonderful to see a book uplift stories like this, showing the trans experience in a realistic and authentic light.
  • And finally, it’s October! What better month to hide a spooky, Dia de Los Muertos-themed book? Folks will find it just in time to start reading it before Tucson’s very own All Souls Procession and celebration!

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