Hi everyone! I usually don’t wait this long to post reviews after I finish the book, but I feel like I need to scream about this book and convince more people to read this because it was so fantastic!
by Aiden Thomas
Release date: September 1st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+, Romance
Trigger Warnings: Death, dead naming, misgendering, blood magic, transphobia, deportation,
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
This was such an incredible book, and honestly I’m mad at myself for waiting a month after it’s release date to read it because that was a full month that I was missing out on this beautiful story.
Firstly, this does NOT read like a debut – the writing was amazing and it was so easy to become invested in the characters. The pacing was also really great, and even when we get slower moments with the characters, there was never a dull moment!
I absolutely LOVED the characters, especially Yadriel and Julian! Julian is such an energetic, fun loving person and I loved how his personality really came through the farther into the book you got. And Yadriel is so shy and caring and comes out of his shell by the end of the book and learns to stand up for himself and his friends. The relationship between the two is just absolutely adorable and I was SOBBING the last 10 pages or so, which hasn’t happened to me in a long time!
I also really really loved the family dynamics and how close everyone is, but I also felt so terrible for Yadriel when his family misgendered him and used his deadname. I thought that the way that this society that is structured based on gendered roles and the way that Yadriel had to fight against that to be who he truly is was was well done. I also really loved the way that being trans in general was represented, and from what I’ve seen in the online book community it’s good representation, but it’s not one that I can speak on personally. I just know that I enjoyed seeing the world through a perspective that is different than mine, and it helps me to understand a little bit of what it’s like to have these struggles.
As for the plot, I really loved the central mystery, even though I kind of predicted the way that things would go. I had an idea of who the ‘big bad’ would be, but the way that it all came about was so emotional and I really felt bad for all involved. I also loved the little moments that we got with Julian and Yadriel, and seeing how Julian interacted with his friends. It was also heartwarming to see how Julian interacted with Yadriel, because Yadriel spent so much of his life not being understood or respected, and Julian was so supportive of him and it was so lovely!
Another thing that I really loved was the fact that this story revolves around Día de Muertos, because as someone who is not apart of that culture, I’ve never celebrated it myself but I find the celebration so fascinating and I love books and movies that show the holiday! I thought that the feeling of the cemetery and the celebration really came through the pages.
Overall, I think that everyone needs to read this! I’m excited to see what Aiden Thomas writes next, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that one day we will see an adaptation of this because it would be AMAZING.