"It's all she can do to just breathe. And count.Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann takes place in the small town of Cryer's Cross, Montana (population 212) where 16-year-old Kendall lives. Kendall has OCD and when a freshman student from the highschool disappear, Kendall's world is thrown off-balance. It gets even worse when Kendall's best friend and boyfriend Nico also disappears without a trace. There are plenty of rumours going around but nobody knows how two teenagers in the same small community could go missing, until Kendall discovers a connection: Nico and the freshman both sat at the same desk. Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, looking for clues of Nico and wondering if she too will disappear. Things get even stranger when she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk that appear to be from Nico. Could he still be alive somewhere? In the mean-time Kendall has started to grow closer to the attractive but annoying new student Jacian. Not wanting to betray Nico, Kendall knows she has to find out where Nico went and what is going on with the desk...
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."
Cryer's Cross is the first book I've picked up by Lisa McMann who had previously written the Dream Catcher series (Wake, Fade and Gone). The novel has a Twilight Zone-like premise, but personally I wished the book was far more creepy. If you're going to write a book about a haunted desk, it might as well be full force. Instead, Cryer's Cross seems halfway between mystery thriller and love story, with both only having half the effort and success because of the divided focus. I did appreciate the characters, as they all seemed like real believable teens, and it was interesting reading about how Kendall copes with her OCD, counting things to keep her brain from spinning too much. However I often got distracted by the poor story- for example in between the characters there are supposed messages coming from the desk which are probably supposed to be scary but are mostly just ridiculous and remind me of a bad ghost story, messages like "We carve on our face".
Overall, the love story between Kendall and Jacian was pretty cute, and I found it realistic how Kendall thinks she is in love with Nico just because she hasn't known anything else. I probably would have enjoyed Cryer's Cross more if I was the kind of reader who could be satisfied with only a love story, but in general I am unlikely to pick up a romance novel knowingly. What I was hoping for with Cryer's Cross was a creepy novel, and what I read felt more like a first draft with enjoyable characters but a weak storyline. I'd recommend Cryer's Cross to readers who can enjoy the teenage relationships without expecting too much from the mystery component of the novel.
Release Date: February 8th, 2011
Source: E-galley from publisher
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