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The Cemetery Boys

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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.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published March 30, 2015

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About the author

Heather Brewer

38 books2,791 followers
Heather Brewer is the pseudonym of Zac Brewer…but you can call him Z.

Zac is the NYT bestselling author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, as well as The Slayer Chronicles series, Soulbound, The Cemetery Boys, The Blood Between Us, and more short stories than he can recall.

He grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. He chased them down with every drop of horror he could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of his banquet, however, he found lurking in the shadowed corners of his dark imagination. When he’s not writing books, he’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Zac doesn’t believe in happy endings…unless they involve blood.

He lives in Missouri with his husband, two children, and four furry overlords that some people refer to as “cats”.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 483 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews323 followers
July 16, 2015
There are just some books that leave me so pissed off I can't speak.

This book is about a boy named Stephen who has to move to a small town called Spencer. In this town the people are superstitious and wary of new comers. Stephen's father is from Spencer, but as soon as he could he got out.

Stephen is a selfish brat in my opinion. His mother is in a mental institution and he resents her because she got "crazy" and ruined his life. He resents his father for moving him from his hometown of Denver, Colorado and ruining his life. He resents his grandmother who is now allowing the two to live with her for ruining his life (she makes him do chores and scowls at him). Basically he is a whiner with no empathy for grown up things like bills, having a job and being able to actually pay for stuff. Stephen is a senior in high school you'd think he would understand a little bit of economics and how money and the cost of living works.

Not only is our wonderful main character an unsympathetic whiner he is also a follower which I despise. He has these goals that were set when he was little and a promise he gave to his mom about drugs and booze. Well since his mom is locked up in the "looney bin" there is no reason to stay sober. So instead of doing the "typical" teenage drinking on the weekends he gets shit faced every single night. Wait for it....to make friends.

Did I mention that the prologue slightly spoils the ending? I mean after reading the prologue you are so pumped to find out what happens to Stephen. You already know something horrific is coming. That thing doesn't come until 90% of the book is gone. Yep that's right. It happens 2 chapters toward the end.

The ending OMG the ending. Stephen is still confused. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. So with everything that has happened you can't forget...but you'll let it slide? To make peace? I'm not understanding.

This was barely a mystery. The villain was definitely something I wasn't expecting, but at the same time it was a total let down. The "paranormal" superstitious aspect of the book that I was waiting for never revels itself. So we can't tell if it's real or not.

The town is in on the entire thing. SO basically Stephen had no hope from the beginning. What was the point of reading it then.

2 stars is being generous. I really did not care for this book at all.
Profile Image for SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*.
504 reviews98 followers
April 25, 2015
When I began reading "The Cemetery Boys" it had a "Lost Boys" / "Mothman Prophecies" vibe. I was intrigued.

Stephen is a teen who has been uprooted from his home,due to his Mother's mounting hospital bills. Stephen and his Father arrive in Spencer,to live with his grandmother.
I am going to speed this up a bit....town is odd...New boy meets goth girl= instalove...New boy meets goth girl's creepy brother and his graveyard dwelling gang...joins ghoulish sociopaths...townies start going all "Wickerman"... and my interest quickly wanes.

I found absolutely no one in this book remotely engaging or appealing. I found all of the character's behavior unrealistic.

This book could have been so much more. It just flatlined.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,222 reviews207 followers
March 14, 2023
Stephen Truax thought nothing could possibly be worse than moving to Spencer, a rural town in Michigan that his own father left and dreaded returning to. But as he delves further into the town's history and mysteries with the outcasts of Spencer, Stephen realizes the town has a dark, twisted layer behind its somewhat normal appearances.

Rumors of winged creatures with a thirst for blood are only rumors... right?

Follow Stephen as he explores the streets of Spencer and realizes that rumors and folktales might not just be fiction.

With mystery, betrayal, and healthy dose of romance, The Cemetery Boys is a perfect late night read for teens who favor dark, suspenseful coming-of-age stories! -Krithika, Teen SPL Volunteer
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
August 5, 2017
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer is an audible book I borrowed from the library and it was a strange but good story. A boy and his dad move into a town with his grandmother. They leave his mother in a mental hospital because she seems insane but is she? You start to wonder as the story goes on. The boy of the story wants to fit in with the few kids in town. The boys seem normal, the girl that is one of the boys sister seems normal too but something is not right and you just can't put your finger on it. It is a horror/coming of age story. A strange story but worth the read. The narration was good too.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
June 22, 2016
Super weird but I liked it. It was kind of slow most of the time but the writing style was really great.
I wish there was a little more detail and excitement but I had no idea of what to expect for
this book so I'm not really disappointed.
I read it in one setting and I'm glad that I did because I think I would have been a little bored if I had read this over a few days.
I did really like the concept and writing so I'll probably check out the author's other books soon.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews605 followers
April 1, 2015

“I’ll have a Mountain D—”
“Everyone! You’re gonna burn. You’re all gonna burn!”

That about summarizes my experience with this. The chapters are short and kind of underdeveloped and mostly involve either [1] hanging out around town or [2] people yelling "YOU'RE GONNA BURN" (in capital letters no less) in the most random places (to make sure the reader hasn't fallen into a coma from reading [1]?).

It's only 19 chapters in total too, so there really wasn't enough room to flesh out the main players or really give them any character. In fact, Cara and Devon kind of awkwardly appear in chapters 2 and 3 and the lack of depth gives the weird impression that Stephen (who's new to town) is already familiar with the place. Hmmm.

Then some creepy things happen (with zero suspense and mostly no follow through (so it feels like important scenes have no repercussions?)), all of which I'm not sure how logically relates the whole way through, and then - oh it's over already?

This would've been a neat concept for a found footage horror movie (take your pick), but as a book it's a bit too short and far too underdeveloped for my liking.
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,866 reviews417 followers
February 27, 2017
Thanks to Goodreads First Reads I now own an ARC of this book! And thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title. I have to say that I am one of the biggest fans of Heather Brewer, and consider myself to belong to her minion horde. I've met her several times, and plan to meet her again any time she is in my town or at some event where I'm at. She's such a great voice for young people, and her stories are all very good! Okay, I'm not very good at gushing I guess, that was kinda silly. So here goes my review of this book!

A majority of the book does take place in a cemetery like the title would lead you to believe. The main character is Stephen, and he has just had to move with his dad back to the small town where his dad grew up. They are having to move in with a grandmother that he never knew. And she seems really particular from how his dad tells them that they have to move in. And once she shows up, Stephen sees that his dad wasn't kidding. They've had to move because Stephen's mom kind of had a breakdown and had to go into a mental institution. His dad has lost his job, and they can't afford his mom's medical bills anymore.

Stephen's first introduction to the small town was a guy just standing outside his house staring up at the house. But Stephen isn't the kind of guy to act scared, nope, he yells out the window that he's going down and immediately heads down to confront the guy. The guy is gone by the time he gets down there, but has left a leather book, a journal on the sidewalk. Stephen grabs it and goes chasing after the guy. On the way he runs into a girl named Cara. A girl he'd already seen at a diner in town when she'd had to convince her mother to leave after the mother had been yelling at people that they were going to burn!

If you want to read the rest of my review you can go to my blog, Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Gisbelle.
770 reviews218 followers
November 16, 2014
My thanks to HarperCollins & Edelweiss

Point of View: Single (Stephen)
Writing: First Person | Past Tense
Setting: Spencer, Michigan
Genre: Young Adult | Thriller/Horror

Actual Rating: 3.5

I still have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I know that I loved the horror and the weird cult stuff in this book, while on the other, it felt a little off somehow. The dark paranormal part of the book was pretty creepy, but the main character kind of got on my nerves.

Let's begin with Stephen. I know for sure that he was all bitter and rude because of the change was too much for a seventeen-year-old. Well sort of. However, the boy was just a little brat. Besides, the boy had no common sense and his ability to make a decision was worse than a 2 year-old. It was a pain to witness. There were times that I just wanted to knock some sense into him. description

The plot, however, was interesting. At least in my opinion. It was freaky. I loved the whole small town creepy belief and all that. At times, the pace was a little slow and seemed to stay in one place. However, I did like the part near then. The climax and the plot twist were a great touch. It was downright horrifying.

In short, the book was pretty awesome for a young adult horror. It was creepy and dark. The suspense and the big reveal in the end were well done, and was kind of sad.
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,824 reviews507 followers
September 20, 2020
Z Brewer has always been one of my faves. Back in my high school days I binged Vladimir Todd over and over. I distinctly remember going to Borders (RIP Borders) and requesting a great YA read that would keep me hooked. They presented me with Vladimir Todd and instantly I was in love. Z Brewer's writing has always done it for me, and this book was no different.

This book is spooky and intense, but in a good way. Stephen is forced to move when his Mother is hospitalized due to mental illness. His Father decides it's a grand idea to move back to the creepy small town he used to live in and move in with his Mother. The Grandmother? A bit weird and scary, let's be honest. So, Stephen moves to this tiny town with creepy lore and thinks he finds some friend. The Cemetery Boys basically describes these buddies he hangs out with (they go to The Playground a.k.a. the local cemetery). We learn there are rumours and myths about the town and many deaths that have occurred there. While Stephen tries to cope with being new in town, liking a girl and trying to fit in, dark mischief occurs... And Stephen will never be the same.

SO SPOOKY. This helped get me into the Halloween spirit, even if that wasn't its intention. I did think the middle half of the book was kind of slow and I would have liked to see the lore come out sooner, but that's a personal preference. The story goes har and fast suddenly when the action starts.

This book is twisted, and if you're an avid reader like me you'll probably figure out the ending early on. Otherwise, it's a great book! I can see why some readers love it and others don't. As a big fan of Z's writing, I was all in. I enjoyed it and stayed along for the right. Maybe this is another one of those niche books? You'll love the ending or you'll want to whip the book across the room. Or both.

Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for Cori Reed.
1,135 reviews379 followers
November 6, 2017
I didn't like this book. The main character was just plain awful, and I don't think it was intentional. Do not recommend.
Profile Image for Leah.
696 reviews77 followers
May 7, 2015
2.5 Stars

The story sounded like it had the potential to be a phenomenal read to me, but it wasn’t. I guessed the twist pretty early on, and I wasn’t ever truly invested in Stephen or any of the other characters. Maybe it was because the book is under 300 pages, and there wasn’t enough time to build up a connection with the characters, or maybe the writing didn’t allow for a connection to be made.

Or maybe I wasn’t in the mood to read a book like this. I thought I was, until I started reading it, and then…

Whatever the case may be, the characters weren’t what kept me reading. The romance aspect of the story definitely didn’t make me keep reading. If anything, and if there was much more of the romance, I probably would have DNF’d the book.

The romance was just an eye-rolling annoyance to me. It felt forced and unnecesary, even when applying is as part of the twist for the story.

What did keep me reading was my own curiosity. I had to know what the Winged Ones were. If they were real, and if handling the “bad times” like the days of the town’s past, worked. I was a little disappointed with the outcome, but I was happy to find the answers(ish) to my questions.

This definitely wasn’t my favorite YA novel, but I’d be willing to try Heather Brewer’s other works. THE CEMETERY BOYS fell a little flat to me.
Profile Image for scl.ashx.
259 reviews152 followers
October 15, 2021
Finally done with this. I'm actually happy that it's over •~•
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
December 28, 2014
Oh this was fantastic. A very interesting premise with creepy atmosphere that only Heather could conjure up.

I'm always amused at how authentic her male MCs sound. It was a lot of fun being Stephen's head, especially when he was interacting with Cara. The dynamic between Devon and the other boys is interesting and there were some amazing twists that I didn't see coming.

As always, Auntie Heather gave us a fun, spooky read.

**Huge thanks to The Bookcase for sending me the arc**
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
September 17, 2015
That was...weird. But enjoyable. I stayed up late reading this one because I couldn't put it down. The ending really surprised me, which is always fun. I wanted a Halloween story and that's exactly what this book delivers. It wasn't perfect, and I had some issues with a few things, but for a quick spooky tale I would definitely recommend this one!
Profile Image for Rikke.
435 reviews54 followers
October 19, 2016
3.5-4 stars.

I recently watched The Lost Boys again. This story holds a similar vibe. It's what makes it so compelling; the eery small town weirdness. The paranormal beliefs and the superstition. It's really quite great. I definitely enjoyed it a lot. It's not exactly fast paced, though, and you may need some kind of connection to make it stand out. At least, I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much, if it hadn't reminded me one of my favorite childhood movies.
Profile Image for Jon.
599 reviews625 followers
March 27, 2015
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Ever since I read Heather Brewer’s The Chronicles Of Vladimir Tod series, I’ve been a hardcore minion and so, I was eager to read The Cemetery Boys. Brewer really knows how to recreate the feel of a small town with a spooky atmosphere and write an awesome YA horror novel. Though I’m not a fan of the romance in this novel and predicted the ending early on, I really enjoyed it.

When Stephen’s dad loses his job, he is forced to take him and his son to Spencer, the place he always longed to escape. Stephen quickly gets sucked into the small town politics and does his best to fit in with the “cemetery boys,” a local group of guys who are looking for some fun. The problem is that the boys believe in the local legend of “the winged ones” and trouble is brewing.

I empathized with Stephen because he’s an outcast trying to fit in the world and desperately wants to be accepted. Though Stephen takes questionable (read: stupid) actions, I didn’t blame him and truly felt bad for him and his position. I felt the tension that he was feeling because of his mother and Brewer really writes excellent male protagonists (as always).

Spencer is a terrifying place that almost feels like a character in The Cemetery Boys, it’s an omnipresent figure that looms over the reader. This wasn’t just a setting, it had so much more layers to it than that and I applaud Brewer for creating such a dynamic locale. Spencer has its own personality and readers will look forward getting to know this ominous presence.

I really wish this novel was longer because there was just so much I wanted to see more of. I wanted more character development for Stephen and Cara and also for his relationship with his mom to be explored further. What Brewer did give me the reader was excellent, but I do feel that this book was too short and that many aspects of this book deserved more attention.

The romance in this one never really thrilled me and I found myself unsure why Stephen actually liked Cara. I know Stephen was lonely, but Cara just didn’t seem like a great choice regardless of his situation. Their relationship lacked any sort of connection and I was shocked how they acted like they’d been together much longer than they had. I’m not sure if the short length of the book affected my enjoyment of the romance, but it certainly didn’t help.

The plot of this book was pretty predictable, but I did enjoy seeing Stephen try to figure out what the root of the evil in the town was. I had a good idea of who the culprit was pretty much from the start, but it certainly was an interesting twist regardless. It was awesome seeing a character using a LIBRARY for research in the age of the internet, yes I’m incredibly geeky and excited by this. Sans the big twist, I was satisfied by the way this one ended and it was a relief to read a stand-alone for once.

The Cemetery Boys is a solid stand-alone from one of my favorite YA authors and I look forward to reading more from Heather Brewer. She really knows how to capture what being an outsider is and the mysteries that lie within a small town. Readers looking for a solid YA horror novel, should definitely check out The Cemetery Boys and discover Spencer.
Profile Image for BookLoversLife.
1,801 reviews9 followers
July 26, 2015
I had such high hopes for this but unfortunately I ended up only liking it. I think for this review, I'll list my likes and dislikes. Let's get the dislikes out of the way.

My main problem was that I didn't like any of the characters, not a single one. Stephen is the MC and he was so hard to like. He was so sullen and came across as selfish and mean. I know he is a teen and supposed to be sullen but I just found him to be a trouble maker. I wanted him to have his own mind, but unfortunately he follows the pack.

I really didn't like how Stephen ends up with the group of "bad" kids. He goes drinking with them each night, they beat people up, they smoke, and they are the type of group that makes you afraid of passing. It was really off putting.

I didn't like how immature Stephen was either. He blindly follows Devon, despite not knowing anything about him. He couldn't make his own decisions, which annoyed me. I wanted to tell him to grow a set!!

What I liked.

I enjoyed the plot. It was creepy and tense. Stephen ends up having to live with his grandmother, which he never met, in a small town. The town is tight and they have their beliefs. Its the type of town where everyone knows everyone. So even before you begin reading you can get a sense of the creepiness.

I liked how dark it was too. It has such a twisted darkness that it's hard not to like.

I enjoyed the suspense and the big reveal. It's a tense and thrilling read and I know that a lot of people will love it. I just couldn't get past the characters!!

I enjoyed that the book was told from a male POV. Heather Brewer did an awesome job of writing his voice.

I loved the mystery surrounding The Winged Ones. The author kept us in suspense about them the whole way through!!

In all, The Cemetery Boys was a good read. It had plenty of twists and turns, a fast paced plot that will keep you reading and enough suspense that will leave you guessing.
Profile Image for Cee.
974 reviews221 followers
March 18, 2015
The Cemetery Boys is my first experience with the writings of Heather Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. Although the story didn't hold any surprises for me, I'm interested enough to pick up her other books.

When Stephen's dad loses his job, they are forced to move back to his dad's home town, some weird small town called Spencer. Here he meets Cara, a cute girl, and her brother Devon. Devon and his friends love to hang out at the cemetery. After a while Stephen discovers that not everything in Spencer is what it seems.

Ms Brewer writes boys extremely well; I enjoyed the inner monologue and sarcastic remarks of Stephen. It was also refreshing to see a young-adult romance through the eyes of a boy, without that romance being a projection of what a female would like a boy to think about his crush. Stephen's thoughts are destinctly teen-boy, with him wondering what it would be like to kiss those kissable lips, instead of thinking how he must love and protect her for ever and ever. Yay for realism!

Having years of experience with detective and crime fiction (especially on television), I have a knack of guessing endings. I always expect the unexpected - the person least likely of being the killer usually is. Whether it's the kindly butler or the loving mother, I have a nose for finding the bad apple. Yet again this nose worked, and I knew what the final twist would be. It was still a good twist, it was just a shame that I found it out beforehand.

The Cemetery Boys is well-written, and has a lovely dark atmosphere. I enjoyed how some questions aren't fully answered, because answering would have diminished the magic of the story. I would recommend this for fans of Darren Shan, Madeleine Roux, and Charles Gilman.
Profile Image for Amanda Artist Cat.
412 reviews69 followers
December 3, 2020
Clipped sentences, weak plot, useless characters, dragging scenes... All the hallmarks of amateurish writing. I was especially annoyed with the plot twist. Why? For example, let I tell you this story:

Alice was a good little girl who like to watch birds up in a high oak tree. One day, she was watching a little red-breasted robin hopping about on a tree branch when a band of masked kidnappers snatched her up and dragged her away to a cellar deep underground. Then - PLOT TWIST! - Alice had superpowers and shot white-hot marshmallow out of her eyes at the kidnappers and escaped back home.

How do you feel? Surprised? Or just "What on earth are you doing, Amanda?"

The plot twist in Cemetery Boys is creative and I was genuinely shocked, but there is absolutely no foreshadowing. A good plot twist surprises you because you think "Gosh, why didn't I think of that! It was so OBVIOUS!" but here, I felt cheated because the I had no chance of guessing for myself.

Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
July 2, 2016
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: How far would you go for what you believed?

Opening Sentence: We’d left my old house as if we were stealing away in the night.

The Review:

The prologue ruined this story for me. It could have been sooo awesome if I hadn’t read that little snippet at the start of the book. It was like a spoiler that was not required – so infuriating! Otherwise, the Cemetery Boys was a thrilling read. It’s dark, morbid and the perfect story for Friday 13th.

Stephen has a hard time fitting into Spencer, a small town in the middle of nowhere, especially since his father didn’t have a great reputation before leaving and he’s living with his grandmother who hates them both. After making friends with a group of mysterious boys, he soon realises that most everyone in Spencer believes in the creepy legend of the Winged Ones. The problem is that the legend is surrounded by death…

“…You guys do this a lot?”
“Some.” He shrugged and then shook his head. “You don’t have to.”
Oh, sure. I didn’t have to drink liquor in the cemetery. Just like I didn’t have to break into the movie theater. Just like I didn’t have to go with Devon in the first place. There was always option B: puss out and go home. Of course I had to. Who did Scot think he was kidding?

It’s clear from the start of the story (and the stupid prologue) that Devon and his gang are dangerous and they share a strong belief in the Winged Ones, but it’s unclear how far they will go in furthering that belief. I know I shouldn’t but I really liked Devon and I hoped so much that he wasn’t the sadistic villain he was being portrayed as. There was immense potential for him to change his ways but alas, every story needs a bad guy (or two!)

“You’re full of shit.” I was pretty sure he wasn’t, but what did I know? Too little, I feared.
“So’s the world, Stephen. It’s also full of monsters with friendly faces.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, well. You’re still full of shit.”

Stephen’s grandmother is rather odd. She might have been more likeable if she wasn’t such a bitter old hag. She hates Stephen’s father for leaving the town of Spencer and hates Stephen by association but that still doesn’t fully explain the reason for such dislike? Plus, I could not understand why she made them both work like animals from the moment of their arrival, was it a punishment or just to show them who was boss?

Standing, I offered her a nod. It was the closest thing to affection that I could freely give the old bat. “You know something, Grandma? You’re all right.”
Snorting, she put her attention on her work, disregarding me completely. It was back to business. “Of course I am.”
Of course she was. She was all right. All right in her bitterness. All right in her hatred. But mostly, all right in her honesty. And maybe that was okay.

The storyline was good, the writing was sinister and overall it would have been a brilliant dark read, if it wasn’t for the spoilerish prologue!

Notable Scene:

I might not believe in the Winged Ones, but the boys clearly did. And belief was a funny thing. It made people do things that theories and ideas couldn’t. Beliefs made people associate with certain people or not. Beliefs made people give money to certain causes or avoid them altogether. Beliefs made people sacrifice, be it luxuries or lives. Ideas could be changed. Theories could be modified. But beliefs were hard-core. They were solid. They were something that the believers took very, very seriously. And the notion that Devon, Markus, and the others believed in something I expected to encounter only on late-night TV scared the hell out of me. Not because the monsters might exist – really. But because my friends might be on their side.

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Cemetery Boys. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Ricky.
Author 8 books159 followers
May 15, 2015
Auntie Heather's first all-new story in three years was one I was dying to read for a very long time. Seeing it at last, I was far from disappointed - although I was pretty devastated. Between the sad circumstances of Stephen's move to Spencer, and the shocking ending that I totally did not see coming (well, not totally, only 'cause the first major villain is given away in the prologue, but the second, not so much), it's safe to say that this is Auntie Heather's darkest tale yet.

Highlights include:

* The general vibe of it all - Bates Motel meets Stand by Me. The former does get referenced (or, at least, Psycho does), and the latter is almost certainly intentional because Auntie Heather pretty much did this In The Style Of Stephen King. The acknowledgments say it all, right down to the "With love from your Constant Reader." And if that wasn't a dead giveaway, the character of Martha is one of King's favorite stock characters - the hyper-religious bat out of hell.
* Auntie Heather's typical subtle pop-culture references strike again on page 106, in which the song being mentioned is pretty easy to pick out as that new classic, "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark."
* In every way, this is Auntie Heather's most R-rated story yet. In addition to the freaky, sometimes quite violent horror-show-ness, there's no dancing around the sex and profanity this time around. This book is definitely not gonna be in any library younger than high school.
* And as for Stephen and Cara (whose names make me wonder if Auntie Heather watched The Tomorrow People), they're actually a good example of insta-love done sort of right. Not to the same degree as Scott and Allison, but...

So this one was one of my better reading days this year. I'm sure by the time 2015 ends, this story will still be on my Top 5 of 2015 list. Especially with Lady Midnight being delayed till next spring...
Profile Image for Christina Marie.
414 reviews370 followers
March 25, 2015
I don't think I really enjoyed this one. But... I didn't HATE it. It was really... unbelievable for me. Another read that I'm just not compatible with.

This YA horror follows a young boy named Stephen and his new life with his father in small town Spencer, Michigan. In this town, he meets twins Cara and Devon. Through his newfound relationship with these twins, Stephen learns of a not-so-normal tradition that has permeated the founding history of Spencer. Somehow he gets wrapped up in it. He also learns that some of his new friends may not be ones he should trust.

This just may be a book that calls to horror lovers. There are a lot of creepy, haunting instances that occur and they just might hook you in. As described, the town feels like it is straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. But despite that fact, the horror elements within the book don’t always remain as consistent as needed to be a full-fledged haunting tale.

As Stephen tries to navigate his new life in his new town with his new friends, he makes a few judgments calls that don’t necessarily aid in the fluidity of the story, nor its creepy tone. His personality becomes quite inauthentic at times, mainly when interacting with specific characters. But there’s an intriguing mystery surrounding the history of the town allows for the reader to continue with the story.

The Playground, a cemetery that Stephen and his new friends hang out at, is the mecca for quite a few of the secrets that the town of Spencer holds. And although the characters of the story don’t carry as much weight as one might like them to, the plot holds an air of curiosity that begs to be explored.

If you’re interested in “old time-y” horror films that are heavier on the world and the plot progression, but maybe not so much on character development and relationships, then The Cemetery Boys will be a treat for you. In the areas that it lacks in, this book makes up for it in creativity, uniqueness, and the uncanny ability to make you want to read on.
Profile Image for Sarah (Head Stuck In A Book).
596 reviews147 followers
May 4, 2015
I was so intrigued with the concept of The Cemetery Boys, the idea of a town that has it's own folklore, an urban legend that Stephen who has moved to the town of Spencer with his Father gets involves in when he befriends twins Devon and Cara and their friends.

The legend is to be rid of the bad times in the small town a human sacrifice is to be made to the Winged Ones, and the good times shall prevail, the residents of Spencer take this lore seriously, Stephen takes the stories with a grain of salt but the more he hears and the beliefs of his new friends gradually has him believing in the possibility of the Winged Ones.

With a burgeoning relationship with Cara and his new friendships, Stephen finally feels like he has a place in Spencer but things aren't want they seem, and when odd things begin to happen that point to Devon, Stephen must decide how involved he wants to become and whether he can overlook the disturbing events that seem to be occurring.

Full of suspense, mystery and a sense of eerieness this book will have you on the edge of your seat as we discover whether the Winged Ones are real or just a figment of the towns imagination.

I really enjoyed this story, this was the first book of Heather's that I've ever read and I hope to pick up some more books of hers at some point, a great and original standalone.
Profile Image for Amber.
334 reviews212 followers
July 3, 2015
The Lost Boys with out vampires. This is how I explained the book to my husband when he asked what I was reading. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 288 pages, my only complaint was that this was Heather Brewer's first stand alone, which means that there will be no more tales around the bonfire at the Playground at night. What is there not to like – a small town with secrets, a pair of creepy and polar opposite twins, and a band of misfit boys who seem to live outside the law.

If you love twisty and dark tales that direct you down one path only to spit you out someone totally different – and that by the last page will leave you wondering if you really believe what you just read really happened, than I can't recommend this book to you enough. It's delicious psychological perfection.

It took me only a few hours to read THE CEMETERY BOYS but thankfully I have a whole lot of other books by Heather Brewer to read, you can be damn sure that not that I have had a taste of her wickedly brilliant mind and gift for story telling that I will be diving in head first to more!
Profile Image for Justin.
362 reviews46 followers
February 4, 2017
This was about a 3 star read most of the way through it, then towards the end I realized it was a "bad guy explains everything in the end" book. I personally believe that any novel that the author has to have a character explain everything rather than being able to write it in a way that you slowly piece it together yourself to be poorly written. To make it worse, the explanations where rediculous and eye rolling, and a few felt like cop outs to a part of the mystery that the author didn't know how to explain. I stopped listening to my audio book version of this with 23 minutes remaining and deleted it from my phone.

1.5 star
Profile Image for Katie.
883 reviews873 followers
April 27, 2015
The Cemetery Boys was my first Heather Brewer book but if it’s any indication of her talents as a storyteller, it definitely won’t be my last. The Cemetery Boys is an intriguing mix of horror and paranormal and it hooked me from the very start.

I honestly can’t tell you what I expected from The Cemetery Boys. It’s unlike anything I’ve read and the synopsis really didn’t give me a clue what was going to happen. I think that’s the perfect way to go into this one. The prologue and first few chapters are intriguing enough to hook you and that’s all you really need to keep going. As I read I actually found myself getting more invested because I didn’t know what was going to happen. The story truly was unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Heather Brewer’s writing is simple but gorgeous. I found The Cemetery Boys to be an extremely easy book to read because the writing was straightforward but in no way dull. Heather Brewer’s descriptions were so well written that I had no trouble picturing everything in my head. It helped set the atmosphere of the story and I adored that about the book. I also adored that Heather Brewer managed to completely capture Stephen’s voice in her writing. I’d heard that she was good with male MC’s but this was the first time I’d seen it for myself and I completely agree with everything I heard.

The town of Spencer was an awesome setting. It felt like the town itself was a character. There was so much mystery and history to the town. Everyone who grew up there knew what was going on but Stephen was an outsider, finding out about everything for the first time. The folklore and stories that he was told were beyond captivating and definitely pretty creepy.

Overall, The Cemetery Boys was my first foray into Heather Brewer’s books but definitely not my last. The writing, the setting, the characters, and everything else about the book added up to make a fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat. Paranormal/horror fans need to check this one out.
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews288 followers
September 28, 2014
I received a copy of this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I've been meaning to read a book by Heather Brewer for a long time now as she is a wonderful St. Louis author, a terrific person, and an important advocate against bullying. When I heard Heather speak about this particular book, a mix of small town small-mindedness plus a bit of horror and paranormal, I thought it was a perfect place to start.

The Cemetery Boys is a combination of Lord of the Flies meets small town horror, and it succeeds in spades. The narrator is Stephen who is forced to move to small town Spencer (which could be argued is a character in its own right), and who meets two twins in pretty short succession-- Cara, who is destined to be his love interest, and is probably my favorite character in the whole book, and Devon, the mysterious leader of the pack of boys in town that seem to be involved in nebulous activities. The whole book is shrouded in lingering evil, suggestive by the raven feathers that seem to float around every chapter. But the evil is truly in the psychoses of a small town.

The characters are rich and deftly drawn. Stephen is a likeable main character and undeniably BOY. Brewer does a terrific job with the mood and setting, and Spencer was vividly real to me. I grew up in a small town (although not quite as small as Spencer), but I felt like those details were just perfect. I felt claustrophobic reading the book, just like I did when I was a child living in that town. Cara is fascinating as a character, and she definitely stole every scene she was in. I liked that she was different than most female characters in YA that I've read about. And I wasn't expecting any twists in the book, but suddenly, boom! I was completely floored by the last 50 pages.

Overall, a ominously moody YA novel with a mixture of horror and suspense, and a terrific characterization of a small town as well as its inhabitants. I need to read all of Brewer's other books pronto.
Profile Image for Victoria.
2,512 reviews53 followers
May 30, 2015
This is my first experience with Brewer’s writing and I must say that I have rather mixed feelings about this book. Stephen and his dad move in with the grandmother that Stephen has never met in a small Michigan town. It’s evident that the town, much like Stephen’s own family, are going through some bad times. And what’s more, the town seems to have a rather gruesome history with its own mythology of powerful Winged Ones who can bring prosperity but only at a blood price.

While the premise of a small town with murderous secrets is hardly new or fresh, the book does move along at a fast pace. Stephen’s inner monologue - when it isn’t too bogged down in self-pity and downright whining - can be pretty funny. But he’s the only character that feels developed. And while I am not sure if a sequel is planned, I hope that there is because this doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion at all and there are many threads left hanging. The plot definitely holds some surprises, but even if there is a second book I don’t think that I will go out of my way to read it.
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