Holy crap. Stop reading this review and just go read this book instead. Trust me.
Okay, you’re still here. Fine. Yadriel wants to prove himself to his family. Prove himself as a brujo, as a capable addition to the family business, and, most importantly, as a man. Yadriel is a young, high school aged trans boy in a family of brujxs. The men are all brujos who help spirits cross over to the afterlife, and the women are brujas who heal those still living. Yadriel is a brujo, but his dad, the leader of the family, does not fully see his son as such.
To prove his worth and his value, Yadriel undergoes a sacred ritual with the help of his cousin Maritza. The patron deity of their family accepts Yadriel as a brujo and Yadriel’s first act as a newly powered up brujo is to summon the spirit of someone who recently died in order to help them move on to the afterlife. So enters Julian, an energetic, jubilant, fiercely loyal and all around charming spirit. The only issue is that Julian won’t move on to the afterlife yet. On top of that, a member of Yadriel’s family has died and no one can find the body. Yadriel, Julian, and Maritza must work together to help Julian and Yadriel’s family find peace.
Aiden Thomas has created some of the most interesting and relatable characters that I have read recently. Julian is an amazing character who threatens to burst right out of the page. His energy and zeal for life and joy is infectious. Yadriel’s struggles as a trans boy are achingly portrayed but done so without pity or woe. Thomas’ writing had me cheering, laughing, and tearing up throughout the book. It was an incredible experience start to finish.
Go read this book.