The Boy in the Cemetery by Sebastian Gregory

This is the story of a boy who was dead but could not die. And a girl who lived but was not alive.

Title - The Boy in the Cemetery 
Author - Sebastian Gregory
Publisher - Carina UK
Publication Date - 29th October 2014
Format - eBook (Provided by NetGalley)

The blurb

This is the story of a girl who didn't want to live...

Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone. 

...and a boy who cannot die. 

The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he's been waiting for...

Becca's thoughts

The Boy in the Cemetery was absolutely freaking awesome. A complete galaxy away from my typical genre, but endlessly enjoyable, and completely and utterly fascinating. This is the type of story that will make you wonder what, if anything, lurks in the cemeteries after dark, and one that will linger on in your mind long after you've finished reading.

Honestly, what first caught my attention with Sebastian's book was the cover. I know, it's horribly wrong of me to judge a book by it's cover but I do and I honestly can't help it. From the second I laid eyes on it, I wanted to read it. Despite my love for all books romantic and girly, I do have this part of me that loves anything spooky, unusual, and strange, so the cover of The Boy in the Cemetery captured that part of me immediately. Also, with Halloween gradually getting closer and closer, I was in the mood for something different, something to fit in with the approaching spookiness, and I found exactly that when I began Sebastian's book.

Firstly, Sebastian is such a talented writer. The opening of The Boy in the Cemetery caught my attention right away, and I was instantly whipped right into the story, surrounded by his incredibly grim setting. I was reminded, as Sebastian unveiled his world to me, of an old Victorian England, where young boys were recruited as chimney sweeps, and their lifeless bodies were pulled from the holes that they'd clambered up like it was no big deal. The streets which Sebastian's character, known as 'The Boy' lived on, were filthy, riddled with disease, and rats, and cockroaches. I imagined these dark and dirty alleyways with shadows hiding in corners and people drunk and shouting as they stumbled across cracked cobblestones. There was also the mention of The Consumption, which was taking people down at a rapid-fire rate. Sebastian told me, "So afraid were the people of the city that they dare not speak of it, for fear of in some way drawing the attention and wrath of the thing itself." I cannot put into mere words how effortlessly I was transported to the morbid scene. The Consumption was serious, and it's wasn't hard to take note of the fact that the people that 'The Boy' was surrounded by were dropping like flies. So, due to Sebastian's incredibly vivid and detailed descriptions, I was able to picture the setting for his story perfectly. I was even told of how The Consumption worked, how it took it's toll on it's helpless victims. Sebastian described it "like an ominous descending fog it choked the life of anyone unfortunate enough to be caught within its wisps." These descriptions were fascinating, and like a HD vision in my mind, I imagined clearly the people panicking and depressed from the slaughter-house that they were metaphorically living in. Sebastian made it clear that The Consumption took no prisoners. Once it had you, that was it. End of the road. This spectacular opening, with such passion in the descriptions, allowed me to place myself in the chaos of the setting immediately. The same can be said for the cemetery too, which is another major setting within Sebastian's book. The place was eerily decrepit and spine-tinglingly creepy. Gravestones were crumbling, and names were fading from the crumbling surfaces. It was incredibly easy for me to picture the scene, and even easier to imagine that I was standing right there, and that if I'd have moved my hand forwards, I'd have been able to run my fingertips right across the rough surface. Again, I have to quote Sebastian's MAGNIFICENT description here. "He could see the gravestones peering from the dark like ships lost on a fog sea." Sebastian's way with words is enough to make you want to live inside the man's imagination, just to see things the way he sees them. I think without these descriptions, I wouldn't have been able to lose myself to the story as much I as did. 

It wasn't just Sebastian's settings that I was able to depict perfectly, it was his characters, too. 'The Boy' is introduced to us first, and he is referred to as 'The Boy' throughout the entirety of the book. I loved this. Of course, it would have been lovely to know his name, but the fact that we didn't know that detail about him made him seem all the more lost and faceless, which, literally speaking, he was. Not only was 'The Boy' nameless, but so were his parents, too. It seemed to fit in perfectly with the time-zone of the book though, the fact that he called his parents 'Mother' and 'Father', and it didn't seem odd at all, seeing as we call our parents 'Mum' and 'Dad'. I also felt that they didn't need to be named. I knew the important things about them, so I guess knowing their names didn't really seem so crucial. 'The Boy' evoked sheer sympathy and sadness from me. He loved his Mother to pieces, but his dad? Not so much. He lived in such a dismal place, sleeping on just a rotting mattress on the floor, surrounded by filth and poverty. I think the only person he truly, truly loved was his mother, which was obvious because his father was nothing but a vile bully, who had no problems with slapping and pushing 'The Boy' around. 'The Boy', to me, seemed so small and helpless, I wanted to cuddle him up and give him a better life, where he'd be warm and safe and well looked after. Unfortunately, with him being fictional, that obviously wasn't possible. But the feelings of wanting to help him in some way stayed me with me right up until the point that someone, or something, else got there first.  Something strange and abnormal. 

Another one of Sebastian's characters that really clung to my mind was Carrie-Anne. Carrie-Anne was clearly not in a good state of mind, and it was not surprising at all, considering what had happened to her. I was shocked that something so serious had been included within the story, but it just made Carrie-Anne seem all the more desperate for someone to find comfort in. She was broken, hurt, and had been through things that no child should ever have to go through. I guess Carrie-Anne and 'The Boy' were incredibly similar in that way. They'd both had upbringings that hadn't been at all normal, both damaged in some way. Carrie-Anne's family were two people who I hated from the get-go. One was weak, and the other was just a disgusting human being. Again, the same way I felt with 'The Boy', I wanted to wrap Carrie-Anne in my arms and squeeze her tight. She didn't see herself as normal, she was bullied at school, and pretty much bullied at home, too. There was no escape for her. That was until her family moved into the house that sat at the back of the cemetery. As soon as I realised where Carrie-Anne had moved to, I was captivated. I knew something was going to happen, that somehow the two characters, from completely different eras but with similar pasts, were going to come face-to-face, and it's safe to say that I flew through the remainder of the book, lapping up every single word that Sebastian had to offer. 

Within the pages of The Boy in the Cemetery, I found something that I'd been missing for quite a while. I found that incredible part of my imagination that I realise I'd lost somewhere in the process of growing up. It's that part that completely shuts out reality and doesn't allow it to enter. That part where you believe, hand on heart, that absolutely anything is possible. Sebastian Gregory brought that part of me back to the surface. Whilst reading, I felt like I had returned to being an open-minded, excited child, who willingly allowed the weird and wonderful to completely take over. I loved Sebastian's style so much; it was obviously fictional, but I wanted so bad for it to be REAL! For things like that to happen. For creepy, un-dead things to lurk in cemeteries, and for two people from completely different walks of life to meet and become friends. If this book were to be made into a film, I would gladly sit and watch it. I was enthralled, entranced, completely enchanted with this wacky world and the people within it. I gained hopes for the characters, I grew my own ideas as to where they'd go and what they'd see, and long after I turned the final page, I was thinking about them. 

Becca's Books is rating The Boy in the Cemetery by Sebastian Gregory with FIVE CUPCAKES! (Sorry Seb, I have nothing manly!) This is why I love my imagination so much, and why I'm so grateful to incredibly authors like Sebastian, who manage to bring an entirely fictional world to life with only words. I would happily, happily, happily read anything by Sebastian all day long. He's not afraid to cross the boundaries, he's not afraid to go where no one's gone before, and he is just EXCEPTIONAL. 


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