Adri's Reviews > Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, ownvoices, queer-lit, latinx-authors, arc, buddy-read, re-read
Read 4 times. Last read August 4, 2020 to August 8, 2020.

"The only thing more stupid than going around his family's back, summoning spirits, and trying to solve multiple murders would be falling for a dead boy. Especially if it was Julian Diaz."

☆ Check out my original review for Content Warnings and feels
☆ You can also go watch my full reading vlog for CB to hear all my thoughts firsthand!
☆ Need more CB content? How about this interview I did with Aiden Thomas!

Now that that's out of the way: Hi. It's no secret that Cemetery Boys has my whole heart and has changed my life in so many ways. As a queer and trans Latinx person myself, I have never had the chance to see myself on the page like this before. CB has been such an integral part of my journey that it's hard for me to fully explain all the ways this story succeeds. But make no mistake, it does succeed brilliantly.

I think part of what gets me about this story is that Yads gets to be the hero for the first time in his life. Yes he's trans, he's queer, he wears a binder, his intense love for his family constantly wars against all the ways they fail to acknowledge him—all those things are definitely an inextricable part of him, but they are not the most interesting things about his story. At the end of the day, this is a group of friends (a badass brown group of friends) testing the limits of brujx power and trying to solve a mystery plaguing their community. While it is emotional and deftly explores different kinds of pain and loss, it's also a light-hearted, fun adventure that leads Yadriel to love, not only for someone else but love for himself.

I also love how the story addresses how Latinx communities often default to "tradition" as an excuse to justify excluding people or refusing to grow. You definitely see that with how Yadriel's family wouldn't allow him to have his quinces unless it was the quinces they'd intended for him, saying that it's "just the way things have always been." Yadriel is not content living within those boundaries. He's tired of being on the sidelines, he's tired of being lumped into groups where he doesn't belong. This story is not only about him challenging his family's expectations, but also his own when he realizes that a part of himself still believes he's not worthy of these powers. That divide between what is "possible" and "impossible" is his to cross, and I love that his journey shows us, as a community, the importance of being open to other possibilities.

But it's also about taking Yadriel's loneliness and turning it on its head. This is something I'm not sure I can properly articulate, but as a trans people, so much of our journey can be isolated and internal. We often do things alone and go through things alone, and the smallest of things can cause us to doubt ourselves while the rest of the world continues on like nothing happened. There's definitely moments where Yads is going through that in this book, but at the end of the day he has all these incredible people in his corner who believe in him, who see him, who want to be part of everything he's doing. Yads would not be able to do half the things he does in this book if he were on his own. So I feel like this story takes him from a place of feeling small and alone and surrounds him with validation and affirmation from people who truly know him, which is just the best.

I could honestly write dissertations about everything this book does right, but I can't do that right now, because it gets too real for me. If you take nothing else away from this emotional word dump, take this: Cemetery Boys is a book that will make you laugh, a book that will make you feel, a book that will make you hope, and a book that will make so many of us feel seen. Do not fail me. Read this book and get your life correct, because it is truly something special.
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Reading Progress

April 3, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
March 1, 2020 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
March 1, 2020 –
page 40
11.36% (Hardcover Edition)
March 2, 2020 –
page 115
32.67% (Hardcover Edition)
March 3, 2020 –
page 170
48.3% (Hardcover Edition)
March 4, 2020 –
page 213
60.51% (Hardcover Edition)
March 5, 2020 –
page 290
82.39% (Hardcover Edition)
March 6, 2020 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
August 4, 2020 – Started Reading
August 4, 2020 – Shelved
August 4, 2020 –
25.0% "I am back on my bullshit, friends 😌"
August 5, 2020 –
45.0% "Tell me how this is hitting even harder tbh"
August 6, 2020 –
62.0% "I'm suffering 😌"
August 7, 2020 –
81.0% "I played myself BIG TIME 🙃"
August 8, 2020 – Finished Reading
August 20, 2020 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
August 26, 2020 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
September 1, 2020 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
September 7, 2020 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)

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TABI⁷ (ᕗツ)ᕗ I hope you don't mind (and I can take it out if you do) but I linked to your review of this in my own review since, as an own voice reviewer, I thought people should read your thoughts on this more than mine :))

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