Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Heather Brewer
Publisher: Harper Teen
Stephen is forced to move to his grandmother's house with his dad after his mom has a psychotic break. Stephen is not expecting to enjoy the very small town of Spencer, Michigan. However, on his first night he is invited to hang out with Devon, the charismatic leader of a band of boys. Devon is mysterious, intriguing, and a little freaky, but Stephen can't help but feel drawn to him and his beautiful twin sister, Cara. As Stephen hangs out with Devon and the boys at the local cemetery, he begins to notice strange things happening in the town that don't really have an explanation. He is told the small-town legend of the Winged Ones, harbingers of death and destruction on the town unless they are appeased with a sacrifice. Stephen wants to believe the legend is just that, but he slowly learns that things are not always as they seem, and that sometimes, there is no logical explanation for what goes on in a small-town cemetery.
Told through Stephen's dry and observant narration, this book has a great voice and some good characters. The relationships between Stephen and his father and between his father and his grandmother are intriguing and emotional, and the exploration of these relationships really carry the emotional weight of the book. The characters of Devon and Cara and the other cemetery boys, however, are less interesting and are more like stock horror characters. While this book is attempting to be scary and unnerving, the attempts are weak at best and juvenile at worst. Nothing about the Winged Ones or Stephen's mom's insanity are ever explained, and the ending features a few quick twists that are illogical and poorly executed. Readers who want to get into horror may want to try this book first, since it is really not scary or that well done, but avid horror fans will want to skip this one in favor of a better written scary story.
*Contains severe language, moderate sexual content, and moderate violence.