“When Stephen’s dad says they’re moving, Stephen knows it’s pointless to argue. They’re broke from paying Mom’s hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen’s grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that’s like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.
Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she’s totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . .”
Thoughts on the Novel: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer has two things going for it. First of all, Spencer is one creepy small town. It starts with the unfriendly welcome by his grandmother and only grows as Stephen explores his new hometown. Second, Devon is even creepier. Friendly one minute, intimidating the next, he keeps Stephen and the reader on their toes.
Ms. Brewer does an excellent job recreating the mindset of a teenage boy. Stephen is utterly believable in his lust for Cara and longing for his mother. He is just like everyone else that age – torn between needing independence and the need for the comfort and safety provided by his parents in his childhood. There is the need to fit in and the need to be true to oneself. The messiness of Stephen’s emotions and thoughts mirror those of every other teenager in the world.
Unfortunately, that’s about where it ends. The story itself, while mysterious, is overly simplistic. The big reveal towards the end is not surprising, nor is there much in the way of character or setting development. There is just enough of a hint of the otherworldly to entice Ms. Brewer’s fans, but hints are all there are. One can easily explain everything without delving into the supernatural. In The Cemetery Boys, as is so often the case, the danger humans pose to each other is more frightening than anything else.