#CBR15 Passport Challenge: Different genres (paranormal fantasy)
Being a queer teen can be difficult enough, even if you don’t come from a long line of magic users with very traditional gender roles. In Yadriel’s family, the brujos can summon the spirits of the dead and help them find peace in the afterlife. The brujas have tremendous healing powers. However, Yadriel’s family won’t let him go through the traditional rite for brujos, because of the gender he was born with. The only ones who seem to fully support him are his uncle, who never really seemed able to tap into the family’s magic in the first place, and his cousin Maritza, who is vegan and refuses to use blood of any kind (chicken blood is traditional) to perform her healing spells.
Yadriel and Maritza sneak into their church and perform the ritual themselves. Yadriel appeals to Lady Death, their family’s patron saint to grant him the abilities of a brujo, and is both a bit shocked and elated when his chosen gender is accepted and he gains the powers to raise the dead. Of course, the first spirit he raises refuses to be sent off to his final rest – he wants to know both how he died so suddenly and unexpectedly and make sure that his friends are safe. So Yadriel is forced to hide the ghost boy from his family, who can all see the spirits of the dead, and help Julian (the ghost) try to figure out how his little gang/found family of outcasts is doing.
It helps that most of Yadriel and Maritza’s family members are busy both preparing for the upcoming annual holiday that they all celebrate and trying to figure out what has happened to Yadriel’s cousin Miguel, who seems to have disappeared without a trace. Of course, because this is a young adult novel, there is also the rather impractical and rather impossible attraction that Yadriel feels for Julian (who may not be gay, who may have an issue with Yadriel being trans, and most importantly, who is already dead and supposed to be sent on to his final resting place). Without spoiling too much, the first two issues don’t turn out to be problems, the third is rather insurmountable.
Full review here.