"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..."
Stephen's mother has been sick for a while, worried about dark creatures with wings. She was institutionalized. After his father lost his job, the cost drains all their savings. They are forced to move to his father's hometown, Spencer, Michigan, where people get stuck. Dad plans to find a job in a neighboring town and transfer mom to a hospital close by. Until they get back on their feet, they move in with his mother, Stephen's grandmother, who is not really the cuddly cookie-baking type. Spencer is a very small town, the type of place with old-fashioned diners, corner stores, and judgmental neighbors.
After making a bad impression with a football player, Stephen befriends twins Cara and Devon. Cara is an intriguing punk girl and they...want to do teenagery boy and girl things. It gets awkward because the twins' mother is the town's fanatical religious crazy person and she ends up catching them together. Devon doesn't approve of the pairing either. He wants Stephen to be part of his group of friends. They sneak into the movie theater after close and hang out at the Playground, the local cemetery. Devon is also freakishly obsessed with loyalty, kind of in a culty way.
Then, weird stuff happens. People in Spencer talk about something called the Winged Ones. The town has been suffering through "bad times." If they make a sacrifice to the creatures, their luck will turn around. Stephen thinks those stories are just stories, that none of it could possibly be true. It doesn't really matter what Stephen thinks, because his friends believe in the stories. They believe enough to kill.
The Cemetery Boys showed what most of us fear about small towns. There are gangs of teenagers loitering in cemeteries, religious fanaticals hanging around outside of diners, and creepy monsters with wings who want to eat you. I read this a while ago, and I can't remember a lot of the story (Except a scene that made me crave Doritos), but I definitely remember the ending. It was completely surprising. I quite liked the suspense building in the book, how everything built from "Nice town" to "Well, that's a little weird" to "Thanks for being born in such a messed up town, dad, enjoy paying for my future therapy." It's creepy fun.
I received my copy of The Cemetery Boys from Edelweiss, courtesy of Harper Collins. It's available for purchase now.