By: Lisa McMann
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Published: February 8, 2011; Simon Pulse
Source: E-Galley from Simon and Schuster
Challenges: 2011 E-Book Challenge
Summary (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 was a chilling novel that I couldn’t tear myself away from while I was in the moment reading it, but not one that left such a lasting impression that I recommend it to everyone I meet. Readers that like the horror genre will definitely eat this one up, and I am happy to report that I really did like this book much better than the WAKE series.
I’m not really into horror. It tends to give me nightmares. Yes, actual nightmares complete with monsters. I guess my psyche never got the memo that those were supposed to go away after like the age of 8. But, the creepiness factor was just enough that it kept me turning pages to see what happened, but not quite enough that I had to sleep with the light on. Also, the psychological aspect of the story made it a little easier for me to handle than the actual undead popping out of the ground, know what I mean?
With that being said; however, I have to agree with Steph Su’s review that the OCD component of Kendall’s character was underdeveloped. I don’t have OCD, and frankly, I don’t know anyone that has OCD, but it seemed that the only thing that Kendall was obsessed about was the pattern of the desks in the room. And, other than her need to get to school early to fix the desks every morning, it really didn’t impact her life all that much. Again, I’m not psychologist, but I think I would have liked to see that aspect of the book fleshed out just a little more.
Best thing about this book and Lisa McMann’s writing is that she totally nailed the small town culture. I grew up in a small town. I live in a small town now. Granted, it’s not as small as Cryer’s Cross, but pretty close. I can totally understand both Kendall and Jacian’s frustrations throughout the book. It’s hard to come into a culture that is so reluctant to change, and perhaps even harder to do in a small change is change your identity. That is so very nicely played out in this book.
I’m going to recommend this book to people who liked the WAKE trilogy. It’s got the same suspense and nice romantic story line as that series with less of the weird sex dreams. Also, if you like psychological thrillers and horror, you might give this one a try.