⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars
Yadriel, a transgender teenager living in East Los Angeles, is frustrated by the lack of tolerance shown by his colleagues at school and his community. In secret and without the approval of his elders, he performs the rites that allow him to become a brujo- a magic practitioner. Meanwhile, his community is shaken by the mysterious death of Miguel, a young and promising brujo. Yadriel attempts to help with the investigation, but his father’s concerns and anger halt his enthusiasm. To prove his claim on the ancestral magic that is traditionally performed only by man, Yadriel decides to summon a ghost in order to release his soul to the afterlife in front of his community.
Cemetery Boys is a fascinating read. The world created by the author is vivid and complex. It’s a magical rendition of the Latinx culture, full of traditions, stories, rituals and rules. The community is small and close-knit, where everyone has a role to perform. Yadriel challenges conventions essential for his relatives by his demand to be treated as a boy. His struggle for acceptance was very well described, and it was easy to empathise with him.
I believe the most significant advantage of this novel are the characters created by the author. They all are well developed, even those who do not bring much into the plot. They all have distinctive personalities, background histories, ways of talking or tics. What’s the most fascinating is that they are all struggling with some internal conflict, like lack of understanding, neglecting parents or LGBTQ issues. That’s what makes them seem realistic— they remind us of our own struggles.
Cemetery Boys is a fast-paced fantasy YA read. The only fault I found in it was in some cliché dialogues, mainly where ‘bad boy’ language was used. Although, it’s possible that younger people would find it more authentic. I would recommend this position to all fans of fantasy and YA fiction.