Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann (site)
Will Be Published: Feb 8th, 2011 by Simon Pulse
PreOrder: $10.89 Amazon $12.74 Book Depository
Source: Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab
Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)
Initial Thoughts: As soon as I heard that Lisa McMann had a new book coming out, I put it on my wish list. Her first trilogy was amazing, easily one of the best YA series I've ever read. I will probably read everything she writes from now on. The cover is also fantastic in a Creepy Ghost Story kind of way, definitely sets the stage for what's to come.
Review: I loved the idea of Cryer's Cross; teens go missing in a small town with no viable suspects, no clues to their whereabouts, and no obvious connection. In fact, the only person who sees any connection at all is Kendall, whose OCD has her arranging the desks in her school's classroom every day. One day she realizes that both missing teens shared the same desk. When she examines the desk, she notices mysterious messages scratched into its surface. This book kept me guessing the entire time. I feel that the synopsis may have given too much away, but it would be hard to write a no-spoilers synopsis for this book. There just isn't an awful lot happening in Cryer's Cross. It starts very slowly, revealing a bit at a time, and then ends with a bang. The slow pace gave the book a very spooky atmosphere, in spite of the lack of action. This is a small town where everyone knows their neighbors. These people don't see a lot of crime, so they don't know how to deal with people going missing. They all wait nervously for some kind of resolution, which seems to never come. The way it's written really makes you feel that you're a part of this community, waiting breathlessly to see what's happened to the missing kids. The ending was easily the best part of the book. It was fast, vicious, and terrifying. Much like the infamous Party Scene in Fade, McMann doesn't pull any punches. Now I bet you're wondering why, if this book was so fantastic, I gave it just under four stars. I have to admit that I had a very hard time rating this one. I finished the book and felt completely satisfied, which is a good indicator of a great book, but I just never connected with the characters. A main character with OCD was very interesting, but I never felt that I really got to know her (unless she was just a boring person). I liked the new kids in town, but we never got to get to know them either. One of the best things about the Wake trilogy was it's cast of amazing, realistic, relatable characters. I was very disappointed to be presented with Kendall, simple country girl, and then never get really under her skin. However, it really says something for this book that I still loved it, in spite of not caring for the main character(s) at all.
Quick Review: Cryer's Cross was a spooky, suspenseful novel with an amazing and terrifying ending. However, the cast of lackluster characters kept it from being a favorite of this bibliophiliac bear.