I can’t believe how long it took me to finally pick up Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. It was one of my anticipated 2020 releases, I had it pre-ordered and everyone I saw who read it absolutely loved it. So basically, I have no excuse for taking this long to read it!
When I was thinking about my reads for 2021, this was top of the list and on my January TBR, so it just had to be my first read of the year and I was not disappointed by my choice! I started and finished the book within 24 hours and mentally kicked myself for not having done it sooner. Just in case you are yet to read it and need some more pushing…
Here are 5 reasons to read Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.
Cemetery Boys features a widely diverse cast, with trans and gay main characters, trans side characters and other queer side characters, and those of varying ethnicities. I also loved the way that Aiden created a story that was rich with Latinx culture, as we read about the Brujx and their traditions – I really enjoyed learning more about this.
The book was also an exploration into identity, belonging, gender vs society and fighting societal norms. With a queer, trans and Latinx author this rep is also own voices.
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be you, Yads.”
Okay well I truly feel like I know these characters! They felt super genuine, relatable, and also really true to their age. I sometimes find that with YA fantasy the characters run around doing things that seem far too unbelievable for their age, but at around fifteen to sixteen, Yadriel, Julian and the gang were believable and lovable.
I absolutely raced through this book. Aiden kept me engaged and interested, whether it was while reading about the characters hiding in the graveyard, taking classes in school or the cultural traditions, I was hooked. This was such a unique and exciting tale and I found myself reading it as though somebody was going to take it away from me.
“You ready?” Julian asked, a curious look on his devastatingly handsome face.
“No,” Yadriel confessed, his voice tight.
Julian grinned. “Do it anyways.”
This book featured one of my favourite specific tropes: a character who looks like a bad boy, is kind of grumpy but is basically a big daft puppy, and another character who is exasperated by them (not really), a little more cautious and fosters a quiet and determined strength. Yadriel’s shifting feelings towards Julian were so sweet, it was lovely to see them both blossom, particularly Yadriel understanding his worth and value as the story progresses.
Friendships and family bonds
There is so much love in this book, and not just the romantic kind. Yadriel has a great relationship with his best friend and cousin Maritza and I loved reading about their adventures together. There is also Yadriel’s huge but tight knit family, with some members who are slower to accept and understand Yadriel’s identity, though the mutual love is so clear to see.
Julian also has a circle of friends, more like a found family actually, who are so tightly woven and look out for one another.
“You know who you are, I know who you are, and our Lady does, too.” She said with fierce conviction. “So screw the rest of them!” Maritza grinned at him. “Remember why we’re doing this.”
Content warnings: misgendering, alluding to a dead name, homophobia, transphobia, discussion of racism, abuse, death, blood rituals, grief and mentions of gang violence.
I simply just can’t wait to read more from this author. Cemetery Boys was an enthralling debut novel, and Aiden’s next story, Lost in the Never Woods, can’t come quick enough!
So there are five reasons to read Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.