Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: The Cemetery Boys - Heather Brewer

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Genre: YA, thriller
Published on March 30, 2015
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 288
Read From: 4.11.15 - 4.11.15

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, a woman as bitter and stuck as the town of Spencer itself. 
Stephen's summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. The twins have family problems of their own and aren't exactly close, but Stephen is drawn to them, each for different reasons. With Cara, he feels safe and understood - and yeah, okay, she's totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance of making real friends. 
Only, as 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.


Dear Cemetery Boys,

I am in such a state of shock and frustration and absolute glee that I don't know where to begin. I picked you up literally not having a clue what you were about. I hadn't read your synopsis or reviews or anything - period. But I was meeting Heather Brewer and I thought, "Why not?"

You follow a boy named Stephen, who is forced to move to small town Spencer, Michigan. His mom has been committed to a mental hospital and his dad just can't afford to keep them in their old home. Stephen doesn't expect anything big from Spencer. But then he starts hanging out with a group of boys who have midnight meetings in the cemetery. Led by charismatic Devon, Stephen feels like he might have some friends to help him through this crappy new life. But as time goes on, Stephen starts to wonder if there isn't something dark and evil going on.

I still don't know where to begin with you, Cemetery Boys. When Heather Brewer described you like an Alfred Hitchcock horror story, I was doubly intrigued. Who doesn't like Alfred Hitchcock? Not this girl!

For the most part, I liked Stephen. He has a lot of upsetting things happening and his sass is appreciative. Of course, I liked him less the more he drank and tried to get into the pants of his love interest Cara. Thankfully, you aren't a book that required me to like everything about him. His bigger complaints - his mom going mental, his bitchy grandmother, his distant father - are very understandable. Devon, of course, creeped me out the moment he showed up, and Cara I was mostly indifferent to.

But you are all about atmosphere and set up, Cemetery Boys, and you pulled that off magnificently. Every moment is suspense and mystery and foreshadowing - while seamlessly blending in Stephen's personal struggles. The climax builds and you see what's coming until - you pull a twist that I did not see coming. And then it's more twists and I was left not knowing what was real and what was coincidence.

I normally have issues with endings like yours, Cemetery Boys. They always leave me asking, "What was the point?" But you could have had no other. You were creepy, thrilling, weird, disturbing, frustrating as all hell, and awesome.

Feeling blown away,

Mara A.

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