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May 14, 2021
Trigger Warnings: Misgendering, deadnaming, death of a loved one, loss of parent, some descriptions of self-harm (for ritualistic purposes), and mention of parental abuse, transphobic parents, and deportation Even though his traditional Latinx family has trouble accepting his gender, Yadriel is determined to prove him to be a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend, Maritza, he performs the brujo ritual himself and is blessed by Lady Death. When he tries to find the ghost of his murdered cousin to set him free, he instead summons Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, who's not about to die without a fight. He's determined to find out what happened and to check on his friends. Without another option, Yadriel agrees to help Julian so they can both get what they want: Julian to tie up loose ends and for Yadriel to set Julian's soul free so he can prove to his family he's a true brujo. But, the more time Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants him to leave. Reading this book was a joy. Though Yadriel was the main character, I very much enjoyed Maritza (such a badass) and Julian (what a firecracker) - they were all instantly lovable and worked well with each other - even if they did bicker. The story was very character-driven, which I think is why I enjoyed it as much as I did, especially because I was able to figure out both the villain and the storyline pretty early on. But again, because of the characters and the message behind Yadriel's story, I really enjoyed this novel. Julian's chosen family trope is really well done and cute and I just wanted to hug them all! I really enjoyed reading a queer fantasy with a trans main character - it's not something you get to read about right now (though times are changing). This novel also portrays a great variety of Latinx cultures. It's a great read for all ages.