Book Review: Cryer's Cross
By: Lisa McMann
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Owned by Reviewer
**This is a Young Adult novel**
Cryer's Cross is a deliciously chilling novel that slides around your brain and keeps you guessing until the very end. I kept thinking that I had figured out the twist and then something new was thrown at me. Lisa McMann exercises her creativity chops big time with this one. The dark secrets that are revealed throughout the novel made me appreciate that I don't live in Cryer's Cross, Montana. This is a quick read which I could have finished sooner, but I enjoyed letting the events stew in my brain a bit before tackling another section. I highly recommend reading this in chunks to give yourself time to experience anxiety that Kendall faces. The creep factor and accessibility makes this novel one that many will surely enjoy - even reluctant readers. I am still in awe that Lisa manages to tell something so eerily poignant in such a small amount of pages. I bow down to her masterful story telling.
I think that Lisa did a beautiful job of showing how life is for people with OCD. Kendall has to face every day with her normal routine in order to remain calm in a world full of disorder. Her little rituals allow everything to move smoothly for her. But when teens in her town start to go missing how can she possibly continue with her rituals? Especially when one of the missing teens is her best friend and semi-quasi boyfriend, Nico. Nico's disappearance throws Kendall's world off kilter and she must fight to keep her anxiety in check. I found Kendall to be such a strong character as she battled her illness and stress. I am not sure I would have fared as well as she.
Lisa also never disappoints in the hot boy department. Jacian Obregon is the new kid in town; his arrival eerily coincides with the disappearance of Tiffany Quinn, the first teen in town to go missing. Could a killer lurk behind Jacian's hardened handsome features? Even as I struggled to piece together the clues and figure out his place in everything, Jacian still remained an appealing figure. I loved seeing him evolve from start to finish.
I will say my biggest complaint with this book (and the reason it didn't get a 5 birdie rating from me) is the lack of sensory details. I feel like this story would have been so much richer if the details had been more vivid. If I had not driven through Montana this summer I would have had a really difficult time seeing the setting in my head. I worry that readers without this experience won't be able to visualize the town of Cryer's Cross or the day to day lives of its inhabitants. Even bringing these visuals myself to the read, I didn't see this story in my mind like a movie. I felt like the descriptions were skeletal at best. However, this may have been totally intentional based on Lisa's vision.
One Last Gripe: I was frustrated by some of the "We" sections. I urge people to keep pushing forward; it does all make sense in the end. However, I was mentally exhausted from trying to reason them out ahead of time.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The shivers it sent up my spine as I read it a night in the middle of a rain storm
First Sentence: When it is over, We breathe and ache like old oak, like peeling birch.
Favorite Characters: Kendall & Jacian
Least Favorite Character: Brandon
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.