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Monday, March 7, 2011

ARC Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

I was prepared to be scared when I started reading this book and was determined to finish before the sun sets. I've read a few comments from friends and fellow bloggers who've read this and let's just say I was ready to be spooked. They were wrong.

I was a mess when I finished reading. I can ignore the goosebumps I felt once or twice, but I felt the sadness and thankfully the hope when I've read the last pages of Cryer's Cross so much I almost tear up.

Title: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
Pages: 233
Release Date: February 8th 2011
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: e-galley (S&S Galley Grab)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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.
You can probably remove the mystery element in this book and it will still pass as a good contemporary novel. Kendall has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and everyday she goes to school earlier than everyone else to fix things in school or else her OCD will kick in. Everyone expects her to be with Nico, her bestfriend since she was little. In comes two transfer students, Marlena and Jacián, the eternally brooding, extremely talented in soccer new guy, also a senior who is especially mean at Kendall. An instant love triangle.

Then a classmate, Tiffany, disappears. And all of a sudden, Nico disappears too. Kendall didn't know what to do and how to deal with Nico's loss. And then she started seeing messages carved on Nico's desk. Could it be him?

Once you weave in the mystery in the story, you get something much more impressive and enjoyable to read. I couldn't stop flipping through the pages, reading as fast as I possibly can. I admit that I got lost and concentrated on Kendall's grief and the way she was coping with the sudden loss of Nico that I almost forgot there was something that will eventually make me jump a few pages later.

That's what I love about this book. You can be deeply distracted by the characters itself and then you suddenly find your heart racing because of the flashes of the paranormal and mystery coming up on the next pages. I do think of Kendall as one of the most fascinating characters I have read this year. Her OCD and the way she struggles to fight it makes her a unique character. I wish there were more Jaciáns in the world. Its difficult to find someone who can understand a person with Kendall's uniqueness and Jacián was not the least bit bothered with Kendall's condition.

As Kendall grieves for Nico, the mystery surrounding his disappearances and how its connected with Tiffany Quinn just intensfies and builds up along with the romance and the rest of the story. Lisa was able to write it in such a way that everything gets time to develop and not much has been left out.

The setting, also, was perfect. Cryer's Cross is a small town seemingly stuck in time, with one room school classes, horses used as a means of transportation and miles and miles of fields. The town itself makes the creepiness factor work.

In between cheering for Kendall and Jacián, I have to say that what makes the book bone-chilling and scary were the fact that in each chapter, the readers can read about "We". Each time a new graffiti appears on the desk, I'm filled with dread. These writings, the perspective of these "We" is what gives the novel the strong sense of evil lurking nearby.

Even with intense moments of creepiness, what made a mark on me was Kendall's strength and perseverance to know what really happened to Nico, and how she was able to deal with her feelings for Jacián amidst her grief. Knowing how the "we" had come into existence made my heart ache. It was sad and tragic to say the least.

This is the first Lisa McMann book I have read, and with her fantastic writing, I am now very much willing to try her other books. Despite the scary theme, Cryer's Cross can be an addictive read. I probably will look twice when I see a desk because of this story, but if you like to read about things that will leave you wide awake at night, which also has a great amount of romance in it, pick up a copy of Cryer's Cross!

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Creepy and beautiful at the same time.


  1. Great review, I've contemplated reading this one since the reviews started coming out a while back. After reading your review, this seals the deal. I'm going to read it for sure. Thanks for an entertaining and well written review.

  2. Wow, I so need this book! Fantastic review, Kai! I haven't read any of Lisa's previous novels either, but I've been dying to get my hands on a copy of this. I love the whole creepiness vibe it seems to give off and the fact that the main character has OCD - not something I've read from an MC very often. Sounds awesome!


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