Cemetery Boys

Macmillan Audio. 2020. 352p. $26.99. ISBN 9781250619129.
Gr 7 Up–Sure, reading is rewarding, but here you’ll want to listen in to share the delighted wonder of narrator Avi Roque and writer Thomas discussing their affirming #OwnVoices debuts as trans Latinx creators, a bonus at recording’s end. Deservedly lauded and awarded all over the place, Thomas’s assured first novel explores being caught between identities, cultures, expectations, childhood and adulthood, even life and death. Yadriel is an East L.A. trans boy in a brujx family that protects the cemetery they call home. At 16, he’s beyond ready to join the men as a brujo, but his father won’t acknowledge him as his son. With best friend Maritza’s help, Yadriel covertly succeeds in completing his own initiation with Lady Death. When his cousin Miguel is presumed murdered, Yadriel attempts to summon his lost spirit, but dead (bad) boy Julian appears instead. Before anyone else dies, Yadriel, Maritza, and Julian need to figure out whodunit and whydunit before the Día de Muertos festivities send spirits to their final rest. Lively and engaged, Roque further enhances Thomas’s thrilling supernatural charmer with Latinx fluency.
VERDICT This ideal match between book and narrator should find multilayered resonance across YA audiences.

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