What It’s About:
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his 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 up 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.Goodreads
Cemetery Boys was actually the first book I’ve read with a trans character in it. It introduced me to so many aspects of the trans experience that I really appreciated. However, I was a little disappointed by the time I finished the book. I remember when Cemetery Boys was released and everyone was just raving about it and it probably raised my expectations too high. It was overall an enjoyable read and love that it’s a book with Latinx characters.
What I liked:
- reading a story with trans character
- Julian’s character was my favorite. His funny, outspoken, no-filter personality reminded me so much of boys that I knew in high school.
- the bond of friendship between the Yadriel and Julian was sweet
- the Latinx culture, folklore and magic themes
What I didn’t like:
- there was too much going on – teen identity, the brujo magic system, murder, romance
- I struggled with the teen angst and romance (but to be fair, I’m not in the intended age audience)
- the writing was repetitive and alot of the scenes and world building slowed down the story
- the murder mystery part was predictable
I really wish this book had pared down some of the things going on. I would have liked to see Yadriel and Julian come across each other somehow in a story without the paranormal/magic and mystery elements to it. Teen readers would most likely have a completely different experience with Cemetery Boys (younger me would probably have given it 5 stars.) It has many elements that are appealing, relevant, and important to that age group.