The Cemetery Boys

288p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062307880; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062307903.
Gr 9 Up—Forced by financial stress to leave his mother behind in a mental health institution, Stephen and his father reluctantly move to a tiny town to live with his bitter, unhappy grandmother. Stephen's summer starts to look brighter when he meets cute outcast Cara and her fun-loving brother Devon. As the townspeople reveal their bizarre local mythology, Stephen slowly discovers that Devon's gang is up to something more sinister than just drinking in the cemetery, but it may be bigger and darker than he can imagine. Stephen is a well-developed character, with the right amount of snark, lust, and angst for an honest portrayal of a 16 year old. The dark, mysterious tone combined with a surprise ending bolster the book's thematic warning on the danger of belief. Instantly engaging—with plenty of suspense surrounding the town's secret—this supernatural mystery will please fans of Brewer's previous vampire hunter series (Dutton) and new readers looking for less paranormal, and more quiet horror.—Hannah Farmer, Austin Public Library, TX
Stephen moves to uber-rural Michigan, where his increasingly sinister new friends believe in the local legend of the "Winged Ones," monsters who periodically demand human sacrifice. Brewer effectively mines the gray area between supernatural and psychological explanations for each strange occurrence, but the stereotypical depiction of rural residents as either ignorant bigots or psychopathic nonconformists mars the narrative.

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