Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross

Title: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
Published: February 8, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Source: Library
Grade Rating: B+

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.


One word to describe this novel: creepy.  I read the Wake series by Ms. McMann which I enjoyed (except for 'Gone'.)  When I saw that she was publishing another novel, I was willing to give it a try, and I am glad I did.  I normally read a lot of paranormal and sometimes these books are a bit mysterious and action packed, but I try not to read scary books (or watch scary movies.)  Its a little hard to explain the book without giving away too much, but I'll do my best.

This novel contains a mix of topics, the most prominent is the fact that Kendall has OCD.  It was very interesting to be in her head, so to speak.  The way her mind works and the numerous compulsions that seem to dominate every waking moment were both fascinating and eye opening to me.  It is a testament to Ms. McManns writing that I was able to identify with Kendall.  Another topic is the one of losing a loved one, and in a community as small as Cryer's Cross, it is a tremendous loss that affects a lot of people.  The relationship between Jacián and Kendall was believable since it wasn't instantaneous, and although Jacián was not too lovable at the beginning of the novel, by the end I was halfway in love with him myself. 

You must be thinking, 'what is so creepy about OCD, losing a loved one and romance'?  I am getting to that part, I promise.  The disappearances on the book are a combination of long past evil and the search for revenge and freedom that makes the missing people do horrifying things.  Between chapters there will be a part that was somewhat scary and confusing (it all makes sense at the end though.)  I wish I could say more, but I really don't want to spoil the book for you.

If you haven't read a book by Ms. McMann before, she was a unique writing style, it is unadorned and straightforward and done in third person, but from the point of view of the protagonist.  Overall, a fast and easy read.

About the cover:  Again, creepy.  The desk is a key 'character' in the novel, so it is very appropriate.  The play of light and darkness gives you the impression of mystery and secrets.

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I love comments! Please leave me one and I will try to reply as soon as I can. Liza


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