Thursday, September 3, 2020

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 1st 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.


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My 5 Favorite Things About Día de Muertos


Fall is almost here, which means my favorite holiday is fast approaching! It’s not Halloween (though that is my second favorite!). I’m talking about Día de Muertos! 

The Latinx celebration of life and death is colorful, rich in culture, and steeped in familia tradition. It traditionally takes place between October 31st and November 2nd, where families and communities come together to honor and remember our loved ones who have passed onto the afterlife. During Día de Muertos, they get to return to the land of the living. 

When I started writing “Cemetery Boys”, I knew I wanted it to take place during this incredible holiday! Here are some of my favorite parts about Día de Muertos:

5. Celebrations 

There’s parades, cultural exhibits and family gatherings! Cemeteries where our passed loved ones rest become the venue for most Día de Muertos celebrations. I currently live in Portland, OR and every year I love going to the Día de Muertos cultural exhibit the art museum puts on! There’s Latinx vendors and ofrendas created by local artists on display. There’s even Concheros performing indigenous dances in full feather regalia and accompanied by huehuetl and teponaztli drums!

4. Building Ofrendas

Ofrendas — or “offerings” — are set up to remember and honor the memory of our ancestors! These ofrendas can be at home and dedicated to multiple people, or set up in cemeteries at a passed loved one’s grave. Certain food, personal items and incense are used to help guide them to the world of the living. A typical ofrenda consists of three “steps” that are draped in a serape and adorned with papel picado. They typically have photographs and personal belongings of the deceased. Personal belongings and their favorite food or drinks are often used as well.

3. The Food

One of my favorite foods is pan de muerto — a traditional pan dulce made specifically for Día de Muertos! While food is placed on ofrendas for spirits to feast, they only eat the “essence” of the food. That means, after Día de Muertos ends and the spirits have enjoyed the essence of the food laid out for them, the physical food that remains doesn’t have any nutritional value. My family calls this “eating ghost calories” as a way to not feel guilty for gorging on all the delicious food during Día de Muertos!

2. Calaveras 

Calaveras — or sugar skulls — are one of my all-time favorite things about Día de Muertos! The first calaveras were made by pressing sugar into clay molds but nowadays you can easily find plastic molds online, and you can get all the ingredients at your local grocery store. Instead of being creepy or morbid, calaveras are decorated by piping brightly colored royal icing onto the sugar skull in patterns and swirls. Sometimes, they’re adorned with sequins, feathers and colorful foil (but when I make mine, all the elements are edible!). They are beautiful, ornate and placed on ofrendas with the name of the deceased loved one written across their forehead. (Fun Fact: At one point, I actually wanted the title of “Cemetery Boys” to be “Calavera Boys”!)

1. Cempasúchitl

My all time favorite part of Día de Muertos is all of the Cempasúchitl, also known as Flor de Muerto or Aztec Marigolds! We use stalks of sugarcane to create arches and decorate them with the golden golden flowers. These arches are placed at the head of ofrendas and graves and serve as a gateway for spirits to cross over from the land of the dead, to the land of the living. Their brightly colored petals and intense smell help guide spirits to their awaiting ofrendas and loved ones. 

Author Bio


Aiden Thomas is a YA author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.



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