cover image The Cemetery Boys

The Cemetery Boys

Heather Brewer. HarperTeen, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-230788-0

Stephen’s mother’s mental illness has left the family destitute, forcing him and his father to move from Denver to Stephen’s grandmother’s house in the small town of Spencer, Mich., where citizens cling to a legend that promises prosperity in exchange for a sacrifice to mythical “Winged Ones.” Soon it becomes clear that nearly everyone in Spencer seems to believe in these creatures, which have apparently wreaked havoc on the town for decades. The power struggle between Stephen’s grandmother and his cowed father serves as a foil for the hierarchy among the “cemetery boys” of the title—the new friends Stephen hangs out and drinks with in the town cemetery—most of whom are under the thumb of Devon, the sinister twin brother of Stephen’s crush, Cara. Brewer (the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series) crafts a mystery steeped in betrayal, and although a prologue that rockets ahead to the pivotal end threatens to rob the tale of some of its suspense, the gory conclusion and its twists still do the trick. Ages 13–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Mar.)