Friday, October 15, 2010

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ARC, 231 pages
Date Published: February 8, 2011

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Cryer’s Cross is an incredibly small town with a small high school that has only one classroom to hold all four years of students. After a girl goes missing, all of Cryer’s Cross is on edge, including OCD addled Kendall. Things begin to go back to normal after a few months, that is until Nico, Kendall’s best friend and boyfriend (though she never refers to him as such because she has issues with the commitment the word implies) goes missing as well. His disappearance pushes Kendall closer to the two new kids in town and in the process, she begins to let Nico go. Only, it seems he won’t let her go; whispering to her when she sits at his now empty desk.

Lisa McMann is a beloved YA author because of the Wake series (which I need to finish reading) and that can be a lot to live up to, but this book does just that. The writing instantly pulls the reader in and the suspense and mystery kept me glued to the pages. It is a fast read and quite short, but the slowly-unraveling mystery is incredibly well-paced.

Kendall’s loss is so close and raw. Her unending hope that Nico will come back will haunt the reader as Kendall tries to cope with her rituals and her counting. Her conflicting emotions about Jaci├ín, the new guy, are so realistic and filled with confusing longing. Her feelings are what drive the story and pull us along for the ride. Her slow discovery about what really happened to Nico is terrifying because of how true some of it could be.

My only complaint is that the book is too short. The quick chapters, interspersed with the creepy declarations made by WE, move the story along at a rapid pace, but I wish there had been more; more explanation and elaboration about why the teens went missing and more about the characters that linger in the background, but become more important as the story unfolds.

Cryer’s Cross is a creepy, foreboding story headed by a heroine who is beyond normal despite having OCD. McMann has weaved a tale that will leave you with the lights on, questioning all the little things you’ve read on your desks at school. The bumps in the night may be more than animals and bugs and the whispers you think you hear could be your undoing…

Opening line: Everything changes when Tiffany Quinn disappears. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s):
Count breaths: thirty-six. Count stones in the dirt: more than fifty. Count people saying stupid things: all of them.
    Count all the days she’s known him: infinity. ~ pg. 44 
*This is the ARC version and lines, cover art, etc. may be subject to change before official publication.
**This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 

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Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Haven't heard of this one but sounds interesting! My uncle lives in a small town in Montana and my cousins went to a small school like that so it would be fun for for me to read!

Marce said...

LisaM is also one of my favourite authors due to the Wake Trilogy and I am not a fan of YA really, but I loved it, so can't wait to get this one.

Great review Nikki. I find all of her works a little short actually but thats YA in my mind.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

So glad to hear you liked this! I loved the Wake series, so I was excited to see a new book by her!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Alyssa - It kind of blows my mind that there are schools that small, but I guess that's because there were nearly 800 students in my class alone.

Marce - There are a good number of YA books that are short, this one included, but I've found tons that are pretty lengthy too. YA tends to cater to series, so I think the shorter books work well for that. It may not always make me happy, but in the end, it probably works better money-wise for the publishers.

Jill - This is so different from the Wake series, so it's a nice change, but also great to see that Lisa will write other stuff I'll enjoy.

Happy reading everyone!

Bere said...

Fantastic review, Nikki, as always! I have to admit that I have not read any of Lisa McMann's books, but I'm incredibly interested in reading her Wake series. And this one sounds absolutely intriguing as well. I will definitely be on the lookout for this one. Thank you, Nikki! =)

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