Tuesday, June 7, 2016

...book review: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer...

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (2015)
ISBN-10: 0062307894

Heather Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a Bildungsroman about loyalty and the power of belief. Of course, the author’s biography page on Amazon reads, “Heather Brewer doesn't believe in happy endings...unless they involve blood.” That isn’t exactly a give-away. Keep in mind that this is Young Adult literature. Since I am teaching Adolescent Literature in the fall, I have decided to dive right in to some YA with some fun summer reads. 

Lately, when I want to be *in* a spooky place, I'm finding that there just aren't enough horror films being produced on a regular basis that offer the right aesthetic. I don't want to see all those body parts chopped off (anymore). I want to see a haunted house, and maybe a realistic "hey, what was that?" I'm finding what I'm looking for more in books. The Cemetery Boys gave me a nice balance of feeling young again and feeling like I just arrived in a weird, small town where there is something just a bit off. 

Main character, Stephen, has moved to a small town named Spencer with the population of 814. That is even smaller than my high school (insert EEEKK! face). Stephen’s father has become the sole caregiver since Mom has been institutionalized back home. With increasing medical bills, Stephen’s father forces them to head to his childhood home moving in with the paternal grandmother who seemingly has never met Stephen. This, alone, sounds like it could be the creepy part of the novel but really the plot focuses on the town’s odd belief in the "Winged Ones," large flying *monsters* whom the townsfolk allegedly believe need human sacrifices in order to appease them and keep the "good times" coming. The Winged Ones show up during the “bad times”.   

Stephen meets twins (yep, twins are always creepy :p) but this time the pair includes mischievous, trouble-maker leader Devon and his punky hot sister Cara, whom our lead character will get to meet pretty intimately (well, as far as NC17 movies go). Cara also reads Tarot cards; Stephen is more than curious about this girl.

The teens enjoy playing in the playground aka the town cemetery after hours. They break into a movie theater to watch movies all night; and, well, it is summer so they go out drinking. Stephen is new to all of this but he doesn’t want to seem uncool to Devon and the group of guys.

The story continues with the events at the cemetery getting darker and darker; Stephen finds a mysterious feather that everyone says is a crow’s feather although it is much larger. Hmmm, larger than a raven? He also finds some articles about the town in the basement archives of the library. The librarian, of course, is cool.

Stephen begins to suspect that Devon may not be just a buddy; he just might be a leader of a cult!

Although the book did not receive the best reviews on Amazon, I quite liked it. It reminded me of the movie Lost Boys sans the vampires ;)  


  1. I think you mentioned this previously I'm very tempted to get it!

    1. Oh boy, then I am getting old ;) I've been talking about it on Facebook too.