My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary 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 read Cryer's Cross in about a day. It's not a very long book and it's quite suspenseful so it goes by quickly. I think I really enjoyed it. And that's strange to me, because books like this aren't usually my style. I don't normally go for haunted inanimate objects and the Children of the Corn feeling. It seems all so corny to me, and I'm not gonna lie. Parts of this book were corny. It went a little too far in places. That's why I gave it 4 stars and not 5. But regardless, I did enjoy it and it was a fun thriller/horror young-adult novel to read.
I had extremely low expectations for this novel since I had read part of book one of Wake, her dream series and I didn't care for the writing style in that one at all. It was way too choppy. I realize I write choppy as well, but that book just went way overboard to the point where it became a definite style, and it was extremely distracting. So I started out not liking her as an author. But I can gladly say that this book is different and not at all like her other books.
I think the thing I enjoyed most about Cryer's Cross were the characterizations. Even though the plot was way out in left field, the characters still felt very real. And in my opinion, this is what kept the story mired in reality. It's why it never went over into cheesy territory. It's slightly like a retro nineties thriller (R.L. Stine anyone), but with more depth. Kendall, the main character has OCD and I think the author did a great job of painting it in a positive light. OCD doesn't make you crazy. It just happens. People with OCD just have another personality quirk about them. Mine happens to be anxiety. We've all got something, and I appreciate the author for writing the book in this way. Kendall was a great character. So was Jacian the boy toy of the book. He had depth as well. Because he is Mexican, and he just emmigrated to the United States recently, he has had to deal with racism and has had the finger pointed at him on several occasions for things he had no involvement in. Kendall hates him at first because he is cocky and unfriendly, but that changes once his sister Marlena breaks her leg and kids start missing in town. Then the kids are required to move around town in a buddy system and Kendall and Jacian are assigned to be each others buddies. They start to get to know each other and develop crushes on each other. But Kendall doesn't want to be with Jacian yet because Nico, her boyfriend went missing, and he might still be out there somewhere. Right? Right.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the evolution of their friendship and I also absolutely adored Hector, Jacian's uncle..I think. Maybe grandpa, whatever. Sometimes I lose the little things. He was just a sweetheart and whenever he gave advice to Kendall and his children, it was respected. You can tell that he was really adored in the community of Cryer's Cross.
The setting of the book is a really small farming town in Montana with a tiny population. Everyone knew everybody's business. I didn't even think places like this existed anymore. It had a one room schoolhouse and all the kids of different grades got taught together. That's why the story to me seemed to be set in the past even though it wasn't. Very Little House on the Prairieish.
I kind of really enjoyed the climax of the novel. Even thought it happened quickly, it didn't feel rushed. And it didn't all wrap up happily either. Which I was glad for. Anyway, I definitely recommend Cryer's Cross. It was a fun thrilling read. And if you don't like it, it ends up being short and it's not too much of a time waster.
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