Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

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.

There is something to be said about not reading a book blurb. In discussing Cryer's Cross with Mel at He Followed Me Home, I was explaining to her how freaked out this book made me. Whether it's just my general chicken-ness for certain spooky scenarios or because of my different perspective as a result of knowing nothing going into it, we couldn't actually decide. Either way, this book was creepy (to me)!

Having read all of Lisa McMann's book to date, what I find refreshing about her writing is that she can get her ideas across in such a concise way. Her novels are short but this in no way hampers the story. There's a distinct detachment from the characters and storyline but at the same time, you still feel the intensity of what's going on. I think for me, it's this hard to pin-point factor that makes reading a Lisa McMann novel so compelling.

My foray into the story started off with about ten pages the first night; by the second, I had finished the book! I love a novel that can keep your attention like this. I had to find out what happened to Nico, I had to find out who the "we" were, and I had to find out if Jacian was capable of smiling, ever! For me, the sign of a good story is most felt when you walk away from the book but are left with something that makes it memorable. Cryer's Cross did just that, though what it has left me with is a compulsion to double check my door locks before bedtime. Thanks to Lisa McMann for another successful novel (and a little OCD of my own :-p )


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