Tuesday, October 25, 2011

REVIEW: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

 Cryer’s Cross
by Lisa McMann

(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.

Character Likability:
Kendall: Kendall is the main character, and she suffers from OCD. Before I read this book, I listened to Lisa McMann speak, and I learned that her daughter has OCD, and she wrote this book because she wanted a heroine who had OCD, but that wasn’t the point of the story, simply an aspect of it. I did not question that Mrs. McMann knew what she was talking about when it came to the behaviors of an OCD sufferer, since she had her daughter there to consult at ever step, but I disagree that this book isn’t about a character with OCD. Quite a lot of the story revolved around Kendall’s struggles with the disorder, and the ending hinged on it. Regardless, I found Kendall very likable. I enjoyed a strong female lead, especially when it was clear that being strong was one of the hardest things for her to do.
Nico: Kendell’s best friend since childhood, it’s obvious he adores Kendall… but then he starts to change, becoming distracted. Finally he disappears altogether, and the rest of the book is spent hunting for him.
A boy of Hispanic decent who moved in right around the time of the first disappearance. He and his sister become huge supporting factors for Kendall. Jacian spends a lot of the beginning of the book being a real jerk, but for me, this didn’t make him unlikable, since it was obvious he was suffering from being ripped from the life he knew to being thrown into this tiny town with about 5 kids in his graduating class.

This book was written in third person, and I’ve read tons of reviews where this has really bothered people, but I’m not sure why. I read the entire book in about 4 hours. I couldn’t put it down. It flowed beautifully. It was written in a way that I’ve not seen much of. Many of the sentences were short, not complete, choppy bits that worked well to give us a feel for how Kendall’s OCD thought process worked. It was jarring, but not so much that it pulled me out of the story, since its frantic nature fit right in with Kendall’s constantly active thoughts.  

This book had a decent end. There was some really wonderfully creepy imagery in the final “showdown” and I could visualize it all perfectly. The only thing I’m not sure of is the role of the main character’s OCD in the end. I’ve heard the author speak, and she said she wanted this to be a book about a girl who happened to have OCD, not about OCD… but considering the ending, OCD was pretty important to the story, more-so than just being a side note.

It was an interesting plot. I enjoyed how the story started right out with someone missing, the action kicking in from sentence one. I read the book in 4 hours, I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end. Every couple of chapters, there was a brief, italicized couple of lines that were cryptic and haunting. I really enjoyed pondering the puzzle of what they meant. My only complaint would be that the ending felt rushed. I wish there had been more set up for the final bit of the story. I wish we had learned more about the town’s history. For me, this was a book about the inner workings of a character suffering from some intense personal struggles, and not so much about the town itself, when, for this kind of story, setting is just as important as character development. I never really got a feel for the town, or the town’s past. It would seem to me that, for the secret this place was keeping, the atmosphere could have been heavier with the weight of it. I would have liked to have seen that rich tapestry built up a bit more. There didn’t need to be detailed descriptions of the place itself, but the stain on the town could have been built up with stories and echoes of the past. I guess I wanted more motivation and background on the “big bad” in the story.

 Believability of World:
Fun, haunting, and believable. I really enjoyed Kendall’s small town life, and if anything, would have liked to have heard even more about it.

Overall Grade: B ~ An exciting, quick read, perfect for Halloween. Pick it up and enjoy it, immediately!! The only thing I wish? That it had been longer!!!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book! It found it interesting, but not overly creepy until right at the end!