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Bloom by Kenneth Oppel and Sophie Amos (Narrator)
Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton and Margaret Strom (Narrator)
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Cleopatra in Space: Queen of the Nile by Mike Maihack
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
A Death Long Overdue by Eva Gates and Elise Arsenault (Narrator)
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alka
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett and Cassandra Campbell (narrator)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 1 by Naru Narumi
The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Gordon Griffin (narrator)
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Restaurant to Another World Volume 2 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman
The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Cemetery Boys: 12/26/20

Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is set in the days leading up to Día de los Muertos in East Los Angeles and a secretive brujx society. Yadriel wants to prove himself a brujo in time for the holiday but his family is having trouble accepting his true gender.

On the same night that Yads and Maritza perform the ceremony that would make his portaje and swear his allegiance to Lady Death, the brujx society is turned upside down. Everyone feels Miguel die but no one can find his body. Yads, prevented from joining the search, heads off with Maritza and together they find another spirit, Julian.

After so many rave reviews I was hoping to get swept along with the misadventures of Julian and Yads but his introduction brings the quick pacing of the first couple chapters to a halt. While the first big chunk of the evening takes place in about forty pages, the remainder drags on for twice as long.

Julian is snarky. Maritza is angry. Yads is suddenly hung up on the minutia of everything.

The book seems to be populated with people who don't know how to search. The adults especially brought to mind the clichéd Scooby-Doo chase. Yads and Martiza's trouble is more understandable because they do have school and chores to manage too, but the narrative pacing was still frustrating.

At about the halfway point a big clue is dropped. It was enough for me to figure out how things were going to play out. If I were younger, I probably wouldn't have caught on. I might also have been more invested in Yads and Julian. As is, though, I will admit to skimming to the end and having my hypothesis confirmed.

The novel, though, does sit on the road narrative spectrum. Yads and Julian together make a traveling couple (33). Their destination is within the city (00) but their route is a dangerous one full of traps and blind alleys — a maze (CC). Thus Cemetery Boys is a tale of a couple traveling though the city via the maze.

Three stars

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