Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 8, 2011)

Book summary: The small town of Cryer’s 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.

My review: This is another book I have mixed feelings about. I have read glowing reviews and some on the fence. I loved McMann's Wake series so I dove into this one with high expectations. On one hand Cryer's Cross was a quick read, but it started off slow for me. When things picked up the story turned interesting; on the other hand, even when I was finished I realized I was never fully invested in the main heroine, Kendall. Her OCD was portrayed very realistically and helped establish her character.

With this author's Wake series I was totally behind the two main characters, Janey and Caleb, and there was a strong connection to both of them. In Cryer's Cross I felt a disconnect. I liked Kendall to an extent but liked the brooding soccer player, Jacian, more. I liked how Jacian opened up to Kendall over time as their friendship changed into a relationship. What I didn't like was how the townspeople were so quick to blame him for the disappearance of the girl simply because he was new. Otherwise, I still found the story itself intriguing. The supernatural aspects, though woven throughout the book, was brief but very cool and certainly creepy. Seeing Kendall's best friend Nico change the longer he sits at a certain desk was credible.

Everything seemed to wrap together too
 neatly and perfectly towards the end which seemed rushed. I would have enjoyed reading more about the supernatural aspect--the spiritual inhabitants of Cryer's Cross and their backstories. As usual, McMann's writing was tight, the pace fast (towards the climax I couldn't read fast enough), and the dialog believable. I liked Cryer's Cross but I didn't love it (and I wanted to since I admire the author).

Rating: +++1/2

Favorite excerpt: "She stops short and lets Jacian steal the ball as she realizes how strange everything was today. "Oh my God," she says, in a strange voice. "Oh my God. I'm going insane." She flops on the grass, her head pounding, as Jacian comes running over.

"Are you okay?" he asks.

Kendall looks up at him for a long moment. She shakes her head no. And then she bursts into tears. "Something is happening to me," she sobs.

Jacian drops to the ground next to her, facing her. He reaches out, and she clings to him, burying her face and crying into his neck. He holds her, pats her back, pushes her hair from her face and whispers in her ear. "It's okay, Kendall. It's okay."

"Something weird is happening," she cries again. "I don't want to disappear. I thought I might want to, to be with him, but I don't. I don't want to. I'm so scared."

Jacian smoothes his hand over Kendall's hair. "Nobody else wants you to either," he says." (From page 153, ARC edition.)

Cover comment: Very cool.

Book source: Around the World tours

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