ARC Review: Cemetery boys by Aiden Thomas

“[but] with Julian, there was no training involved because he already understood him. It was…easy. Yadriel hadn’t known it could be that painless and simple for someone to see him as he was.”

Thank you to NetGalley and the publish for a UK ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Swoon Reads (US), Pan Macmillan (UK)

Release date: 1st September 2020 (US), 4th August 2022 (UK)

Pages: 342

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (Gay, FTM Trans, MTF Trans), Latinx 

Trigger warnings: Transphobia, Homophobia, Racism, Death, Missing Persons, Parental death, blood, deadnaming, violence. anxiety

Summary:  In a family ruled by Gender Roles, Yadriel is determined to prove to his family that he’s a real Brujo-not their little girl. Only Brujos can help ghosts cross into the afterlife, so obviously that’s all he needs to do to prove it to them-until he ends up summoning the wrong one. Julian Diaz was the high school bad boy, now he’s a ghost with some unfinished business that doesn’t want to go into death quietly. The boys must work together to get what they both want, with one big problem; The more time they spend together, the harder it’s going to be to let eachother go. 

‘Cemetery boys’ opens our minds to a world beyond the one we live in, and when that door closes again we leave with nothing but Joy. 

Purchase the book using the following links to support Indie bookshops, and me:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Aiden Thomas’ Debut Novel has put them on my author to-watch list. In a beautifully haunting narrative, they manage to tell a story haunted by ghosts yet full of fear and joy.

Yadriel was loveable, and I wanted nothing more than for him to get his happy ending. He was brave, even when he was scared, and it was a pleasure to watch him figure out the challenges that presented themselves to him. Julian was a shining light in the dark for the reader as well as for Yadriel-he was smug, he was funny and despite his grumpy exterior the sunshine he emits radiated off the page. He is definitely one of my favourite characters now. It’s not because of anything specific he does, but the small things that make him seem extremely realistic. The small moments of a playful teenage boy that shine through.

The plot did seem to be in the background at points-hidden behind Yadriels internal struggles, but never enough that I forgot what was going on (which has definitely happened in other books). It had moments of slow pacing, but this was often drowned out by the colourful, creative world that had been built. Do I wish there was more tension around the evil the book offered? Yes. Did it disappoint me? I wouldn’t go that far, because it was still a great book-one of my top reads! The lack of tension was the only thing that stopped it being a perfect book. Evil aside, the rest of the atmosphere was there and it built up the perfect spooky feeling. Supernatural magic, ghosts, goddesses and a whole bunch of angst and love make this book one that you won’t want to miss.

As a queer reader, it did become hard to read at points because it hit so close to home. Yadriels struggles struck a chord in my chest, and the words of his family hit hard. It can be hard sometimes to still love those that hurt you, as so many people do with their families. It felt like this book was written for those that struggle with it-it’s okay to be unsure, it’s okay to still love them, it’s okay if it takes time. Whatever you do, it’s okay. 

As a white reader, I  encourage you to find and read reviews by members of the Latinx community for a full-rounded view of this book.

Its shining glory:  It’s a unique, beautiful story that manages to always have your attention. It never makes you stop to ask why-things just are, and it shows you that that’s okay. 

Its fatal flaw: At times it was slow, and I found myself wishing for less description. Not often, but it was the biggest ‘flaw’ this book had to offer.

Read this if:  You want an exciting yet not too fast paced read. You like even the slightest hint of the enemies-to-lovers trope. 

Skip this if: You prefer solely plot-based stories, or stories that focus on one main plot/issue rather than different plot branches equally.

Purchase the book using the following links to support Indie bookshops, and me:


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