Monday, December 5, 2011

Cryer's Cross, Lisa McMann

Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann (author website)
Release Date: February 8th 2011 from Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Lisa McMann's WAKE series established her, for me, as a brilliant, if unexpected and unpredictable author  (in a good way--A VERY good way). Cryer's Cross reaffirms this. This outing is eerie, sinister, and utterly gripping. On an aside, this book is called The Missing, in the UK.

From Goodreads:
The tiny town of Cryer’s Cross is shocked when a local schoolgirl disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, sixteen-year-old Kendall is freaked out by seeing the empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend disappears.

Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects the missing. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk that they both sat at… Then she begins receiving messages. Can her boyfriend be alive somewhere? How can Kendall help him? The only person who will listen is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating... and attractive.

As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into the mysterious disappearances only to stumble upon some ugly – and deadly – local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far people will go to keep their secrets buried...

Let me say that the blurb for this book is terribly misleading. The community is not trying to hide any secrets at all. Cryer's Cross is a small rural community, with a population of less than 250. When a school student goes missing, the tiny population is shocked to its core, but slowly returns to normal. Life goes on, but then 16 year old Kendall Fletcher's boyfriend, Nico, who she's known all her life, disappears also. Struggling to cope with her OCD, and the loss of the boy and best friend she's never known life without, Kendall tries to piece her life back together. But she's drawn to the one thing both Nico and missing girl, Tiffany, shared in common: a school desk. And she swears she's noticed graffiti scratched into it that looks fifty years old, yet wasn't there before... but that's crazy, right?

Cryer's Cross is addictive, from page one. The disappearance of one girl was sad, but you could feel the town settle back into its normal routine; life going on, and leaving a shattered family behind. When Kendall's best friend/boyfriend, Nico, disappears, the town is not the same, and the events and mystery that follow kept me flicking through the pages holding my breath. Between chapters, the book's peppered with short passages that are both sinister and obscure, and add to the creepy atmosphere of the story.

Lisa McMann has a unique way of writing that feels incredibly intimate. When Nico vanishes, Kendall's world is shattered. I felt the heavy, oppressive weight of her grief, and I cried real tears with her. When her hope of his return lapsed into doubt, then hollow acceptance, I felt her despair and depression. I felt empty inside when she realized her goals and dreams had been torn from her, but kept on keeping on. What Kendall experiences in this book is painful, real, and very serious. This is not a light, fun, weekend read: Cryer's Cross is emotionally intense, dark, and seriously creepy.

Given McMann's unique writing style, I'm inevitably drawn to make comparisons to Janie, from the WAKE series. Kendall feels younger than Janie, but this doesn't feel wrong. Kendall is from a very small rural community, and she's a lived a quiet, sheltered existence. She hasn't experienced half of what Janie had, and rather than a protagonist already as damaged as Janie (though not without her issues), we witness a loss of that innocence. Kendall suffers from OCD, and experiencing the burden this with her is heavy, but fascinating. She's an interesting character, and she's engaging. As is Cryer's Cross in its entirety.

I'm not sure what else to say--with this book, the less you know, the better. I was constantly questioning what was going on, what would happen next, and completely in the dark the whole time. It's FANTASTIC.

Eerie, dark, haunting and heartbreaking, Cryer's Cross is gripping YA fiction at its best. No vampires, no werewolves or faeries here. A fantastic offering from the consistently brilliant Lisa McMann.

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  1. Ooh I really have to pick this one up soon I've had it for a while now. It sounds wonderful and so creepy! Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. Oh dear! great review! I read the Wake series but Im not a fan of the writing style and that`s why I havent read this book yet. However, this one does seems to be better than those books =9 I`ll put it in my list just because of your review =9

    thanks for sharing =)
    Dazzling Reads

  3. @Giselle: Thank you! It was seriously creepy and it was so sad, too! I loved it.

    @Natalia: Aw, I'm sad you didn't like the WAKE series, but I do think the writing is kind of you like it or don't. The writing is very much the same--if you didn't like it in WAKE, you probably won't like it here. Maybe give this one a miss? There are plenty of other FABULOUS books out there!

  4. Unfortunately I struggled a lot with this book and got a little confused at times. But that's probably because I wasn't a fan of the WAKE series either. Great review nonetheless. Glad you enjoyed the book.

  5. Thanks Erin! Sorry you struggled with it. I don't think you're alone, though. I loved the WAKE series, but I know a stack of people didn't.
    I think Lisa McMann's writing is kind of polarising... may be a similar issue with the writing in Pure? For some reason it works for me here, but not in Pure. The Third person present tense is a bit weird.

  6. I've heard some REALLY bad reviews of this one, but I'm still intrigued. So glad to see you enjoyed it :)

  7. @Melissa: NOES! Oh, that sucks. I really loved it, but I really love Lisa McMann's WAKE series, which seem to have been pretty polarising. She writes third person present tense, which I think could be kind of polarising?

  8. Great review! I had sort of overlooked this because I'm not a huge fan of the cover *cough* I know.. LOL *cough* but I'm going to take a second look and probably add it to the wish list! :D

    Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

  9. @April: Mwahaha! I think that's fair enough. I judge books by their covers ALL THE TIME. I bought Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater based ENTIRELY on the the cover, and that it had blue text! Mwahaha!

    It's fair to assume you'd do the opposite. I know I have/do. I never read ANY romance novels (including PNR so think Cat and Bones/Jeaniene Frost), because I was like 'pfft. Covers are LAME'.

    I was wrong >.<

  10. I totally loved this book too. It was so creeptastic! thanks for coming by my blog :)

  11. @Lindsay: Yay! I'm so glad to hear someone else did. I seriously think iit's a FABULOUS book. So creepy, and I'm in love with Lisa McMann's writing!

  12. I've heard this book is kinda creepy but good. I might check this one out. Great review.

  13. @Mesa: I SO hope you like it if you do read it! I really love Lisa McMann's writing!

  14. Great review! This sounds fascinating, and while I'm not a mystery reader, I'd consider reading this. I love creepy books.

  15. @TheReadingPenguin: I really hope you enjoy it if you do read it. I REALLY love Lisa McMann's writing. It has a paranormal element, but it's def. mainly a mystery :)

  16. I felt the same! I haven't read her WAKE series, but I really enjoyed this one.... in that creepy, haunting, what-is-going-on / wait-what's-going-on-has-a-backstory-and-it-be-so-sad-gasp-gasp kind of way. There is definitely something unique about Lisa's writing and I found myself enjoying it.

    Your reviews are always so incredibly well written <3 So glad you loved this!

  17. @Brodie: You're gonna make me blush! Thank you!
    You've summed it up perfectly! That's exactly how I felt about this book. I so couldn't pick it (I mean, who *COULD* pick what was going on this thing??). Her WAKE books are GOOD. The writing is the same quality, so onyl a recommend for ppl who like her writing :)

  18. My dear! thank you so much for stopping by =)
    ABout COFA! I think is better if you read Clockwork Angel first because there are crossover characters like Camille from Clockwork Angel that you will meet in COFA. If you read first CLockwork Angel, then you will know who she is in COFA and some other little details about WIll and Magnus Banes hohhoo! SO yes, Reading in order of publication I think is perfect =) go read Clockwork Angel ASAP! is so good! muah muah muah!!

  19. Oh my gosh, I get chills just from reading the synopsis!!! Call me a girl who wants to be Nancy Drew when I'm older, but I absolutely LOVE mystery novels, and your review makes Cryer's Cross sound exactly like the kind of novel I would love! I really, really want to read this book now! :)

    Amazing review, Sarah! And the lack of weres, vamps, and fey sounds really refreshing -- it makes me even more excited to get my hands on a copy! x)

  20. Aw, thanks Mimi! I really loved this book. It's creepy and sad and BRILLIANT... but Kendall doesn't seem particularly Nancy Drew, if you know what I mean? She doesn't set out to solve the mystery; it unfolds around her, and she inadvertantly stumbles across little things that don't seem right. She's not the most proactive protagonist--she's just trying to get through the day, if you know what I mean? Hope you love it if you read it :)

  21. This book sounds so good! I really need to get my hands on it. Great Review!
    A Beautiful Madness

  22. @Em: I So hope you like it if you read it! I LOVE Lisa McMann!

  23. I also liked this book, and agree that the blurb is misleading.



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