In The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer, there’s more to this small town than you think…
This YA horror follows a young boy named Stephen and his new life with his father in small town Spencer, Michigan. In this town, he meets twins Cara and Devon. Through his newfound relationship with these twins, Stephen learns of a not-so-normal tradition that has permeated the founding history of Spencer. Somehow he gets wrapped up in it. He also learns that some of his new friends may not be ones he should trust.
This just may be a book that calls to horror lovers. There are a lot of creepy, haunting instances that occur and they just might hook you in. As described, the town feels like it is straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. But despite that fact, the horror elements within the book don’t always remain as consistent as needed to be a full-fledged haunting tale.
As Stephen tries to navigate his new life in his new town with his new friends, he makes a few judgments calls that don’t necessarily aid in the fluidity of the story, nor its creepy tone. His personality becomes quite inauthentic at times, mainly when interacting with specific characters. But there’s an intriguing mystery surrounding the history of the town allows for the reader to continue with the story.
The Playground, a cemetery that Stephen and his new friends hang out at, is the mecca for quite a few of the secrets that the town of Spencer holds. And although the characters of the story don’t carry as much weight as one might like them to, the plot holds an air of curiosity that begs to be explored.
If you’re interested in “old time-y” horror films that are heavier on the world and the plot progression, but maybe not so much on character development and relationships, then The Cemetery Boys will be a treat for you. In the areas that it lacks in, this book makes up for it in creativity, uniqueness, and the uncanny ability to make you want to read on.
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Brewer grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. She chased them down with every drop of horror she could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of her banquet, however, she found lurking in the shadowed corners of her dark imagination. When she’s not writing books, she’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Heather doesn’t believe in happy endings . . . unless they involve blood. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children.