Book Club Pick: May 2020
Title: The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer (Z Brewer)
Series: Stand alone novel
Country: United States of America
First Published: 2015
Pages: 288 pages
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. Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he befriends punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. 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…
Seventeen-year-old Stephen and his father move from Denver, Colorado to his father’s small hometown of Spencer, Michigan (population 814) to live with his grandmother. Stephen’s mother had been committed to a mental health facility in Denver and his father was struggling to pay their bills hence their move to Spencer.
Shortly after arriving in town Stephen meets mysterious twins Cara and Devon.
As you can expect Stephen is instantly attracted to Cara the punk girl who ‘definitely didn’t look like a farmer’s daughter.’
Stephen is also drawn to Cara’s charismatic but creepy twin brother Devon, who befriends him and invites him to hang out a cemetery at night, which Devon and his friends call the Playground.
Stephen later learns of an urban legend that all the bad things that have happened in Spencer’s history can be attributed to these dark winged creatures. Very Stephen King-esque! Do Devon and his friends really believe this legend?
I do have to warn that the novel’s depiction of mental illness tends to play into problematic stereotypes, so some readers may take issue with this.
Brewer does a good job of writing Stephen’s first-person-narrative. Some reviewers have not appreciated his sarcastic, sullen, selfish voice – but I found it refreshing and real, maybe reflecting my own former inner teen self.
The novel has a nostalgic, small-town American horror movie vibe to it. Don’t expect major character development, there is the twist at the end that experienced mystery readers will probably pick.
I borrowed this book from my public library.