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.
Title: The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer
Publication date: March 30, 2015
I received The Cemetery Boys from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Stephen’s dad loses his job, forcing the two of them to move back to his dad’s hometown — and into his standoffish grandmother’s house. It doesn’t take long for Stephen to realize that Spencer isn’t a normal town. There are a lot of strange things going on and then there’s the legend of the “Winged Ones.”
I really liked Stephen, and the glimpses into the male mind seemed realistic. It was interesting to see him try to fit in in Spencer all the while struggling with missing his mother, dealing with his grandmother, and just wanting to go back home to Colorado. He faced a lot of changes all at once. He started hanging out with a group of boys in a local cemetery, but aside from Devon, the ringleader, none of them were very full developed. There was some potential with Markus, who took him to a library to read old newspaper articles and learn about the lengend of the Winged Ones, but it didn’t really pan out in the end. Markus was pretty much a throwaway character like the rest.
Stephen and Devon’s twin sister Cara got involved quickly after he arrived in Spencer. He first noticed her pleading with her mother, the town’s crazy lady, to go back home and stop antagonizing people in a restaurant and he later discovers that she lives just down the street. I never was quite sure about the relationship between them. I liked Cara just fine, but they both seemed like they were much more serious than I thought they were. Time didn’t seem to be passing very quickly and suddenly he was talking about her leaving town with him. They barely knew each other! They hadn’t even spent much time together at that point.
It wasn’t just their relationship, but the entire ending that seemed rushed. The real action didn’t happen until the last 10 (or so) percent of the book. I was starting to wonder if this was the first book in a series, but couldn’t find anything online that pointed in that direction. When things finally came to a head, it all seemed so short. While I’m satisfied with the ending and feel like it wraps things up — there’s no need for a second book after all — I wish it had been drawn out a little more, whether that means starting earlier or a longer book. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe the entire book felt a little rushed. There were a lot of things that could have been explored more. Even the legend of the Winged Ones was never fully delved into to my satisfaction.
The Cemetery Boys told an interesting horror story, but was lacking depth. I did read an ARC so it’s possible there were changes made prior to publication that fleshed things out a lot more. The version I got feels like an early draft. There was just so much more that could have been done with it.