Title: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Published: September 1st, 2020 by Swoon Reads
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Tags: LGBTQ+ (trans), Latinx rep (Mexican)
A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys.
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 is a YA author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. As a queer, trans, latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, will be published September 1st, 2020.
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17960047.Aiden_Thomas
- Website: https://www.aiden-thomas.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/aidenschmaiden
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aidenschmaiden/
Own Voice Reflection
How do I tell you what the mere existence of trans Latinx brujo as the center of a YA book means to this genderqueer Latinx buja. I don’t know. My heart is so full and my eyes are watering just thinking about all that this entails. Let’s break this down.
I heard the title first. Cemetery Boys. I thought “omg if that isn’t the coolest title ever” and then read a bit of the description. Seemingly a gay love story with ghosts of course, taking place on–no way–Dia de los Muertos!!!!
I’m not a super traditional Latina. I grew up mostly without culture. But I also grew up surrounded by grief and exposed to it at a very young age, along with experiencing it very powerfully, very often, throughout my life. My family celebrates Dia de Muertos and it’s a powerful experience for me every year. To see this book centered around one of my favorite holidays means so much. Truly, I don’t know how I’m going to cope when I read about the ofrendas and cempasuchiles. The mentions of grief and revenge will definitely hit me hard, and I’m preparing to cry at least a little.
I think it was on Twitter that I discovered this book was an Own Voice trans novel. *Queue me sitting at my computer for twenty minutes trying to figure out the words to tell you what that means to me and coming up blank.* I’m not one for labels, although I carry a lot of them. Some days I identify as female and she/her/hers doesn’t faze me. Other days (today is one of them) those pronouns make me uncomfortable, make my stomach turn and my heart beat just a touch faster. I have yet to read very many books with trans / non-binary rep but I find myself drawn to them all the time, trying to find comfort in this part of my identity. I don’t fully understand it, not in the way I understand my sexuality, but it’s something I’ve just recently had the courage to put a label on and somewhat embrace.
And paranormal romance? You already know. That’s my absolute favorite genre and falling in love with a ghost is a recipe for angst and feels. I’m so ready for my heart to get ripped out of my chest. (I already have the perfect playlist for this, I think! I’ll share it with my review once I get this pretty book in my hands). Because this is my favorite genre, I know the extent to which it is lacking in BIPOC voices. So beyond my own deeply personal reasons for adoring this book, I am soooo glad that there is some color and culture getting added to this genre!! Being able to see people like me (in this case, characters very similar to me) go on these adventures is refreshing and needed.
Yadriel being desperate to prove himself to his family really hits home for me. I feel like I’m constantly defending myself, my values, my identity to my family. Even being closeted, I know my identity seeps out and it’s at odds with my family’s ideals. It’s especially hard in a Mexican family with traditional values (I might not have grown up very traditional but all the old folks did). I’m hoping to see some of this struggle reflected in Yadriel’s mission for acceptance.
What This Means To Me — Summarized
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is a traditionally published YA Paranormal Fantasy that’s hit number 1 status on Amazon during pre-sale. I’m crying because this is such a big accomplishment for trans and LGBTQ+ Latinx. To have a story handling death, acceptance, and love, draped against Dia de los Muertos, written by an Own Voice author who really understands means more than I can express as an Own Voice reviewer who checks so many of the boxes of this book.
This is the book I didn’t know I needed and didn’t know I had been waiting for all this time. I can’t wait to read it and for everyone else to read it as well! I highly encourage you to preorder it and help this amazing book hit the New York Times bestsellers list! Plus the preorder incentive is gorgeous! Link to preorder incentive info here.
Thank you again to Hear Our Voices Tours for having me on this tour and letting me gush about this title.
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