October 19, 2020

Review: The Cemetary Boys

The Cemetary Boys
Available now from HarperTeen
Review copy

I was a fan of Z Brewer's Vladimir Tod novels, so I eagerly picked up their first standalone novel. Then I let it sit around for ages. The copy compares it to Hitchcock and Hinton, but the movie it brings to my mind is The Wicker Man. (And now Midsommar, though the book predates that movie by some years.) Protagonist Stephen might have seen some horror movies, but there were some obvious gaps in his fandom that might have helped him.

Stephen is a city boy who has been forced to move to the small town his father grew up in - specifically, the home of his horrible grandmother. His mother had to be institutionalized, and with the bills piling up, his father couldn't afford to keep their house. Stephen hates his grandmother, the boring town of Spencer, and his father for getting them into this situation.

I felt so old reading The Cemetery Boys. All I had was sympathy for Stephen's father, who managed to get out of the regressive town he grew up in only to get forced back, all while trying to do the best by both his wife and child. What a horrible fate. Thus, I did appreciate that part of Stephen's journey is learning to appreciate his father.

The bulk of The Cemetery Boys focuses on Stephen's relationship with Devon and his twin sister Cara, who Stephen crushes on hard. To no one's surprise, the twins are bad news and keep getting Stephen deeper into trouble.

There aren't too many surprises in The Cemetery Boys, but there is a nice sense of place and a truly sad conclusion. It's a decent read for young horror fans.

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