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.
* * *
I liked Lisa McMann’s Dreamcatcher trilogy, so I was thrilled to know that she would be coming out with a new book next year. I was even more thrilled when I found out through Grace that this is available through Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab…well, I cannot not have it.
Cryer’s Cross tells the story of Kendall Fletcher, a girl with OCD who lives in the small town of Cryer’s Cross in Montana. It starts with the entire town searching for Tiffany Quinn, who disappeared without a trace shortly before Kendall’s junior year ended. When the town eventually gives up on looking for her, everything sort of goes back to normal until Kendall’s best friend and sort of boyfriend, Nico, also disappears. Kendall is distraught, until she finds something very peculiar: Nico and Tiffany sat in the same desk in school, and Nico seemed to be sending Kendall graffiti messages through this desk.
Lisa McMann delivers again in this deliciously creepy novel about a small town with secrets through the eyes of a girl with OCD. It’s almost similar with the Dreamcatcher series in terms of its sparse prose, and yet Cryer’s Cross has a more poetic feel about it with how the town was described and the people who live there. It had a somewhat initial similar feel to Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost, but it got creepier and creepier especially after reading some of the messages from “WE” in between some chapters such as this one:
When it is over, We breathe and ache like old oak, like peeling birch. One of Our lost souls set free. We move, a chess piece in the dark room, cast-iron legs a centimeter at a time, crying out in silent carved graffiti. Calling to Our next victim, Our next savior. We carve on Our face:
It came to a point that I was too scared to read this book when I was traveling alone or when I’m the only one left awake at home, which was why it took me a while to read this book (I’m a big chicken, too bad). The book’s pacing was slow at first, but the author takes this time to set it all up, building up to a very creepy climax.
Perhaps my only gripe in this book is the reason why the things were happening felt a little…I don’t know, abrupt? It was a perfectly creepy and horrifying reason, but it felt like it totally came from nowhere. Of course, this may be done on purpose to hike up the creepiness factor, although I kind of wish for a bit more foreshadowing on that piece of Cryer’s Cross history.
Nevertheless, this is another solid book for Lisa McMann. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.
Cryer’s Cross will be out on February 8, 2011. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ebook ARC!
Cover and Blurb: Goodreads