Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cryer's Cross - Lisa McMann

Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), February 2011 (Hardcover) (Review copy is an ARC from the publisher)
Length: 231 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Horror
Started: September 19, 2010
Finished: September 20, 2010

From the back of the book:
The small town of Cryer¹s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing - someone close to Kendall’s heart - the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school - messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there - Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions.

Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross - and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

This was a book that was discussed at the teen preview night I went to, and I felt so mad that it wasn't coming out till February because I so desperately wanted to read it. Luckily for me, I won a swag bag from that night that had an ARC of this in it, so I got to read it after all ^_^

This book has a wonderfully creepy concept: students begin disappearing from a small Montana town and Kendall notices that all the missing students sat in the same desk at school, so she begins to wonder if perhaps that has something to do with the disappearances. Kendall's a really interesting character: her OCD tendencies make her quirky and differentiates her from most female characters. Her fear and feelings of loss (and how that impacts her OCD) when Nico disappears is wonderfully handled, so the book can also act as a story about the grieving process and not just a creepy story about possessed school desks. Jacian (thank you to the author for showing the proper pronunciation!) is your typical broody boy that comes around at the same time he turns into Kendall's romantic interest. He's actually a good character too, just not as memorable as Kendall.

The book summary leads readers to believe that the whole town is hiding some huge secret, which is not true, it's more like a forgotten piece of ugly history. This relates to my only complaint about the book: it takes freaking forever to develop the creepy part of the plot, you don't even get any development on the voices from the desk until page 200! And when you do get to the juicy parts, it's all rushed and I felt like the book needed to be longer and the key information coming through bit by bit instead of dumped on readers in just a few pages right at the end. Granted, the creepy parts are very well done, and I really wish there'd been more exploration of it, say, Kendall uncovering the mystery piece by piece by talking to the townspeople or uncovering an old journal in the ruins of the school before the events of the climax. This book was wonderful on so many levels, I just wish more time was taken on uncovering the history and events related to the creepy stuff (can't say too much for fear of spoiling it).

A really uniquely creepy read that is sure to please. Shame the ending is rushed though, that's the only real detriment.

Thoughts on the cover:
Kinda corny, but it fits. The title etched into the desk like the messages Kendall reads from the disembodied voices is appropriate, but it still smacks of a twilight-zone cliche.

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