Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Review: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Title: The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer
Release date: March 30th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Format: ARC
Pages: 273

Source: Publisher

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.

The Cemetery Boys is pretty different from most of the YA books I read. I'm still not entirely sure if this is paranormal or not! After reading about the legends of the Winged Ones in this book, there's still no proof that they actually exist. It's a nice change that Brewer left things to the reader's imagination.

Stephen hates that he has to uproot his life and move to Spencer, his father's hometown. Just him and his father, because they've admitted Stephen's mother in a mental facility. Gosh, I felt so bad for her and for Stephen... Especially since Spencer is such a dull, dreary place. Stephen soon meets kids his age and is pulled into a group of boys he's not sure he should be hanging out with. Devon, their leader, is charismatic, confident, and scary as hell. His sister, Cara, is scary too but in a different way. Stephen finds himself attracted to her in a way he's never been before, but his happiness hangs in the balance after discovering there's more to Spencer and the urban legends surrounding the town than he'd thought.

The only character we really get to know is Stephen. Devon and Cara are present quite a lot, but we never get to know much about them, so they remained very two-dimensional to me. Not just Devon and Cara, but the other 'cemetery boys' too. They just seemed to be there for the sake of it.

Stephen's search for the truth was pretty interesting to me - my favourite part of mysteries is the protagonist's process of figuring stuff out. And the description of Spencer was great; I definitely know that I would never want to live in a town like that! Its creepiness factor is pretty high, especially if you add in the Winged Ones legend and the 'sacrifices' that have occurred to placate them.

The biggest thing in this book is the climax towards the end, where there's basically a showdown and everything is revealed. There's a twist at this point, but I had my suspicions about it so it didn't really come as a surprise to me. I guess that was a little bit of a letdown. I was hoping to be appropriately shocked at the climax. This book is a fun quick read, and I'm glad it's a standalone because thriller books like this are best that way. Even though I wish there had been more depth to the characters, the plot was enough to keep me invested in the novel.

*Thank you to Megan at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

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