I have been searching for more diverse voices to add to my shelves and Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas fits perfectly. As a forever lover of literature, I wanted to add both LGBTQ+ and Indigenous novels to my shelves to show the importance of listening to these voices to my friends, family, and readers. This book was amazing to read. I loved the use of Latinx history and mythology (please correct me if this is the wrong word to use – or if any of the words I am using are wrong) to tell the story of a trans boy trying to prove that his identity fits inside his community and his family.
Yadriel is a young trans boy who strives to prove to his family that he is a brujo, a man who can release the spirits of the dead from their connections to the earth. Through performing a secret ritual and summoning the wrong spirit, Yadriel begins his journey to release this spirit and find out what exactly has gone wrong. This novel shows the beautiful journey of a person whose voice I don’t hear often enough. I wish that I could read more books like Cemetery Boys. (If you know of any, leave a comment and I’ll check them out!)
The mythology and history in this book were both incredible. Latinx culture is not one that I had much if any, knowledge of. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned while reading Cemetery Boys and it made me want to learn more. I’d love to learn more about its accuracy from an expert. I don’t know any Spanish, as I had to take French in grade school, then chose to take German in university. This book made me look up new words and phrases while sparking my curiosity for the Spanish language and culture. I always love a book that gets me learning.
There was only one difficulty I had with this novel, and it wasn’t enough to take away from the awesome plot or the well-built characters. Towards the end of the novel, the pacing felt off. It had a solid pace until about a hundred or so pages from the end, and then it sped up two or three times as fast. It felt like we should have gotten another book with further character development and more time to deepen the plot. I think it would have made the ending even more gut-wrenching than it already was to have had more time getting to know these characters and explore the history behind what happened at the end.
Even though I have gentle qualms with how the pacing of this novel made the ending work, I loved how the plot ended. I did figure out one of the details before the climax revealed everything at the end of Cemetery Boys, but everything else was a complete surprise. I do wish it had been drawn out to create a deeper effect on the reader because the events seemed to meld together in my head, but it turned out that the ending was put together beautifully and tied the novel together well. After being stuck in the middle of so many series with the ‘never-ending’ feeling, this was the perfect standalone novel to read.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is a book that fits very well in the 4/5-star rating. I believe it had the potential to be a 5-star novel, but I couldn’t get past the pacing towards the end. However, I firmly believe that it doesn’t ruin anything about the novel. I recommend this novel to people wanting to diversify their bookshelves, listen to LGBTQ+ voices, or simply enjoy some ghosts and spirits this spooky season.
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