Author: Heather Brewer
Publication: HarperTeen (March 31, 2015)
Description: When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
My Thoughts: This is story of a young man named Stephen who comes with his father to the town where his father grew up. This is a place of last resort for both of them. His father has lost his job and there are masses of bills to pay since Stephen's mother is in an asylum since she is seeing visions and is a danger to herself and others. Stephen and his father are not welcomed by Stephen's grandmother who is a private, emotionless woman who is obsessed with keeping things tidy.
The first people Stephen meets are Devon and his twin Cara. Devon invites him to hang out with him and his friends in the Playground - otherwise known as the cemetery - where they spend their nights drinking. Stephen is attracted to Cara with her Goth clothes and tarot cards. He feels that he has something in common with Cara because her mother also seems to be crazy.
But there is a dark underside to the town. There's a long-standing legend about winged creatures who require sacrifices to keep the town prosperous. Stephen becomes convinced that Devon and his gang are planning another sacrifice to appease these winged ones. However, most of the adults are in denial about the whole legend and don't believe Stephen when he tries to get help.
The story is exciting and fast-paced. Stephen is an interesting character. I think readers who like a little scary in their books will enjoy this one.
And belief was a funny thing. It made people do things that theories and ideas couldn't. Beliefs made people associate with certain people or not. Beliefs made people give money to certain causes or avoid them altogether. Beliefs made people sacrifice, be it luxury or lives. 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.I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.