The Cemetery Boys

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Cemetery Boys Book Poster Image
Creepy, supernatural, suspenseful teen-angst tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This supernatural suspense tale is meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Eventually you have to stand up to peer pressure. Without remembering the past, all you have is the present.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stephen makes mistakes but learns from them. At first he just wants to fit in and enjoy himself, but he learns that he has to take responsibility for his actions and decisions. He has a good relationship with his father and is able to work through the tension in their relationship by talking honestly with each other.

Violence

Past murders and arson mentioned. Punches and kicks with descriptions of resulting pain. Blood mentioned a few times but not described in detail. 

Sex

Stephen notices physical attraction. A couple of kisses, one make-out session above the waist described with some detail and mention of a condom.

Language

Strong language infrequent but includes "bulls--t," "hell," "s--t," "badass," "screw," "crap," "p---y" (as an insult), "d--k move," "damn," and "motherf--king."

Consumerism

Several fast foods and convenience-store items and a few miscellaneous brands of cars, clothing, lighters, and over-the-counter medicine to establish character or mood. Many brands of alcohol mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink many kinds of alcohol to excess nearly every night during summer. One hangover described. One character frequently smokes clove cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Cemetery Boys is a standalone book by Heather Brewer, author of the popular Vladimir Tod vampire series. You'll find no vampires this time, but the book is heavy on creepy, supernatural atmosphere. It's also aimed at an older, high school audience with stronger language, which is infrequent but includes "d--k," "p---y," "s--t," and one "motherf--king." Violence is fairly mild: Past violent, mysterious deaths are mentioned; blood's mentioned a few times but not described in detail; and a few fights describe punches and kicks with resulting pain and injuries. A prominent teen character smokes clove cigarettes, and teens drink alcohol to excess frequently.

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What's the story?

Stephen's mom is in a psychiatric hospital, and the bills are piling up. After losing his job, Stephen's dad decides to move the two of them from Denver to the tiny town of Spencer, Michigan, population 814. They move in with Stephen's grandmother, a harsh, bitter woman who never has a kind word. There Stephen meets the charismatic twins Cara and Devon and starts to hang out in the cemetery at night with Devon's gang of friends. Little by little, Stephen learns about the town's dark history that some people say is tied to creatures known as the Winged Ones. It's clear that something very dark lurks just beneath the surface of this small town and that Devon is leading Stephen down a dangerous path. How far should Stephen follow?

Is it any good?

This is a fun, light read for teens who enjoy supernatural chills. Author Heather Brewer effectively creates a creepy atmosphere in a small town populated with interesting characters. Teens who like tension and slow-building suspense will relate to the hero Stephen as he copes with tremendous change on the cusp of adulthood. Stephen's narrative voice is believable and realistic as he struggles to make the right decisions and learns just how far to go along with THE CEMETERY BOYS.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why supernatural stories are so popular. Why do we love them so much?

  • Have you read other books by Heather Brewer, such as the Vladimir Tod or Slayer Chronicles series? Which is your favorite? How does Cemetery Boys compare?

  • What do you imagine Stephen will do next? Will he stay in Spencer, go back to Denver, or do something else altogether?

Book details

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