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Cemetery Boys: 12/26/20
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.