“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be you, Yads” – Aiden Thomas
This truly was as amazing as everyone was saying it was (‘: This story follows a Latinx transgender boy named Yadriel who just wants to prove to his family that he is a real brujo, meaning he can helps ghosts to the afterlife. Yadriel’s life is turned upside down when he accidentally summons his schools bad boy from the dead after he was just recently murdered. After some other strange disappearances start to plague his community, Yadriel teams up with Julian to try to figure out who or what is behind it. This story was so full of heart and was so spectacular.
The first thing that is important to mention is the fact that Aiden Thomas, the author of this one, was the first transgender individual to make it onto the NYT bestsellers list. Even though it took a long time, I am so happy he was able to achieve this. After I saw that announcement, I just knew I had to pick up this one and I was not disappointed.
The first thing I really enjoyed was the world and the Latinx culture that shines through in this story. In this story, brujos can see the dead and help them pass into the afterlife while brujas have special healing powers. I loved the heavy emphasis on the power of Día de Muertos and just how Yadriel’s tight-knit community was represented.
I also really enjoyed Julian as a character. He was so lovable and hilarious and I just loved his unending support for Yadriel throughout the book. Julian was not afraid to tell Yadriel to be whoever he wanted to be and that was really special. Maritza was also an amazing character and her relationship with Yadriel was so great to see. I know that close bonds between cousins is something own voices reviewers have pointed out to be good to see. Yadriel struggle’s with his father made me pretty emotional as well, but I think this topic was handled pretty well.
Even the cute romance between Julian and Yadriel takes the forefront of this book, there also is a great mystery in the background that caught me off guard towards the end. I just was not expecting it to get so action-packed there. I was really on the edge of my seat and super nervous for Yadriel and crew at the climax. I also think the reveal at the end was very well done, as I had no idea that was the way the story was going to go.
The only thing that subtracted a star for me is just the pacing felt a little awkward for me at times. Sometimes it felt like it was dragging and not really going anywhere… but then the ending a ton of things all started happening at once. Maybe this is just a me thing, but I did find myself just slightly bored in the middle of the story and just wasn’t sure where the plot was going. But, other than that, this truly was such a cute little ghost story.
Although I would recommend reading this book around Halloween for all the ghost feelings, I think this book is still perfect for any of the winter months or if you are ever in the mood for a ghost story with a great representation. I also do not think I have seen many reviews below 4 stars for this book, so definitely give it a try if it sounds interesting to you (: