Title: Cryer’s Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: 2.8.2011
Keywords: Mystery, OCD, Relationships, Grief, Secrets, Murder
Description (from Goodreads):
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 adored Lisa McMann’s first three novels, WAKE, FADE, and GONE, but had no idea what to expect of CRYER’S CROSS. The verse is absent, but there is still a certain cadence to the writing that identifies it as a McMann novel… It’s entirely different from her first three, but no less impressive.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this novel is the main character’s OCD and the role it plays. To my knowledge, there aren’t very many YA books that deal with OCD and there definitely aren’t any that handle it this particular way. Kendall’s disorder is both a blessing and a curse and McMann sends this message in an entirely new, brilliant way.
CRYER’S CROSS has a sinister feel, but it’s not so scary that it’ll keep you up at night. Instead, it’s more of a slow, steady buildup to the revelations at the end of the novel… When I reached that point, all I could say was ‘Wow.’ For me, the novel reached it’s most intense near the very end, but it wouldn’t have packed the same punch if not for the slow journey to that point.
I’ll admit that I still favor McMann’s trilogy over CRYER’S CROSS, but this novel proves that she’s fully capable of doing something completely different and still blow readers away. I’ll definitely be reading McMann’s next novel, THE UNWANTEDS… I’m curious to see what she’ll show readers next!