“Cemetery Boys,” by Aiden Thomas. Copyright 2020, Swoon Reads (344 pages, $17.99).

Content Warning: Transphobia, Blood, Death, Death of a parent, Violence

Cemetery Boys is a refreshing coming of age story with realistic issues that people face today, interwoven with a touch of magic.

We follow Yadriel as he’s just trying to find his way through a world that has a difficult time accepting him for who he is. Yadriel wants to prove once and for all that he is a real brujo, a sorcerer. Yadriel, with the help of his cousin Martiza, tries to summon their recently deceased cousin, only to be saddled with Julian Diaz, a former schoolmate with unbound energy and a surprisingly carefree attitude for being dead. While trying to solve the mysteries behind Yadriel and Martiza’s cousin’s death as well as that of Julian, Yadriel learns what being a boy and what being a brujo really means to him. All while navigating high school, family dynamics, and raging hormones.

Thomas has done a wonderful job interweaving individual experiences with a culture that isn’t talked about enough and making the magic work without being too much. They are also able to pull from their own experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and incorporate themes and issues that a lot of people face but that aren’t addressed in main stream media. Thomas is a strong advocate for diverse representation and I can’t wait to see how they tackle this next in Lost in the Never Woods and their future publications.

Kayleigh Dyer is a Library Technical Processing Assistant at May Memorial Library. Contact her at kdyer@alamancelibraries.org.