Review of Aiden Thomas’s Cemetery Boys
Posted on 15. February 2022 by Melissa Angulo
This novel is about Yadriel, a gay and transgender boy who comes from a family with spiritual powers. These powers differentiate between men and women. The nahuelas are the women who can heal and the nahualos are the men with the ability to release spirits. Yadriel’s family does not accept his identity and therefore they see him as a nahuela. Yadriel decides to show them that he is a nahualo, which leads him and his cousin Maritza to invoke a spirit that ends up being Julian Diaz, a boy from his school who wants to find out reasons for his death. Yadriel decides to help him because he is the one who has to free Julian’s soul. However, the more time they spend together, the less Yadriel wants Julian to leave.
This novel has many surprising aspects that I liked. I feel that the book is very easy to read, and you get to feel part of Yadriel’s world, which is a fantastic world. As a Latina I have been fascinated that the characters are Latino, there is a lot of diversity between Mexicans, Colombians and Cubans. I have felt very identified with Yadriel’s family on the cultural side. However, Mexican culture is more present because everything happens a few days after the day of the dead. Latin culture, but especially Mexican culture, is a culture of traditions that pass from generation to generation, therefore, I liked seeing that process of acceptance regarding Yadriel’s homosexuality and transsexuality. An interesting character is Yadriel’s grandmother, as she does not seem to want to understand Yadriel’s situation. Although Yadriel insists to his family, and reminds them that he is a boy and therefore a Nahualo; She tells him that all her life she will remain a girl.
Maritza is another important person, especially for Yadriel, since she is the only person who understands him and who apparently always knew that he was homosexual and transsexual. On the other, she is another member of the family that is different because she is vegan. It is something that is not accepted in the family either, since in order to be able to use those powers, the blood of some animal is needed and this is something that Matizta refuses to do.
Something I don’t know if I like the novel or not is its lack of drama. It seems to me that transgender or homosexual boys should feel identified with the novel in terms of that acceptance of their relatives for what they are. However, I would have liked to know how Gabriel tells his family that he is gay and transgender and who that process of his was. On the other hand, what seems dramatic to me is the fact that Yadriel’s mother was the only one who understood him, but she is dead.
This novel is very enriching because it deals with several important aspects such as the fact of mentioning the Latino community in the USA and the problems they have for being a minority.
In conclusion I recommend this novel because it is fun, romantic, different and not only focuses on problems such as gender acceptance, but on many others as well.