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.
“Hay niñas con pene, niños con vulva y transfóbicos sin dientes.”
Man, this book, this book was my most anticipated release of the year and when a book has reached that level, you start getting concerned it’s not going to live up to that hype.
But Cemetery Boys delivered.
I will get my one “negative” point out of the way, and that is the plot as to what happened to the murdered cousin is fairly predictable. I was able to guess fairly early on. That being said, this is a character driven book so the plot is merely the vessel to which we are blessed to encounter these characters for a brief moment in time. So, I’m going to stop beating around the bush and get to the characters.
Yadriel is a trans brujo who is struggling in his family as being a brujx is very binary, with girls doing healing magic and boys protecting the cemetery from spirits who have gone bad. It’s not that Yads’ family has cut him off, but that they don’t know what to do with him, so he’s been ignored. And I really liked that aspect of the family dynamic that there was no blatant transphobia, just signs that the family isn’t trying hard enough to fully accept Yadriel. I feel like a lot of times in books it’s either full acceptance or outright transphobia.
Yadriel himself was a delight because he was a trans character who the author allowed to be angry at people for accidentally misgendering them, because even when it’s unintentional, it’s still annoying, especially from family.
Maritza, Yadriel’s cousin, was great as well. She’s a little like the devil of Yads’ shoulder, she doesn’t encourage him to do bad stuff, but more often than not, she’s down to do whatever and she’s a fan of doing things out of spite. I doubt this would happen, but a companion novel about her would be really cool.
Now, as much as I love Yadriel, Julian was the star of the book. He was hilarious and full of so much heart. Even though he has a terrible attention span, he’s so observant when it comes to Yadriel and so accepting, I love him so much.
Even though the book takes place during only a couple of days, I loved the romance. It’s not love at first sight, it’s as slow of a burn as you can get over a week or so. I don’t normally single out chapters, but Chapter 24 was just everything I didn’t know I need.
I rated this book 4.5 stars! This was maybe the hardest review I’ve written because I knew Adri at perpetualpages has said everything I’ve said but better. Just please, read this book.