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Review: Cryer’s Cross

Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann will be released on February 8, 2011 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats.

It is available now for pre-order online at Amazon in all formats and at Barnes & Noble in print and audio.

(Note: pre-orders previously placed for the Kindle edition were canceled out by Amazon because there is a new Kindle multimedia version available for pre-order. It will still work on the Kindle, but this version has additional content that is only available for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices.)

Published by Simon Pulse, the print edition is 240 pages.

Goodreads description:

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.

When Tiffany Quinn disappears, the small town of Cryer’s Cross, Montana, drops everything to search for the missing girl. It is the last week of Kendall Fletcher’s junior year and the school cancels classes a week early so that everyone can help with the search.

When the fall school semester rolls around, no one is any closer to figuring out what happened to Tiffany. But the arrival of two new students, Marlena and Jacián Obregon, helps to fill the empty space she left in their small twenty-four student school.

This balance helps to calm the chaos that Kendall has been feeling due to her OCD ever since Tiffany went missing. But when her lifelong best friend Nico Cruz begins to pull away and then disappears without a trace, just like Tiffany, Kendall’s ordered world completely shatters.

In addition to the loss of a friend, now with a soccer team too small to continue, Kendall loses another outlet for escape from the OCD that threatens to overwhelm her. So when she begins hearing Nico’s voice coming from his empty desk next to hers, she just knows she is going crazy.

Even if the voice isn’t real and she has completely lost it, how can she take the chance at ignoring his plea for help? With no clues as to what might have happened to him, this may be her only means of saving him. But if she gives in to his seductive entreaty will she find herself just as lost as Nico and Tiffany?

***

Cryer’s Cross is an eerie, haunting and unsettling novel by author Lisa McMann. Set in this small rural town in Montana, that still has a hitching post at the one-room schoolhouse and is a community where you can leave your car keys under the floor mat in the front seat and not worry about it being stolen, the disappearance of two teenagers is devastating.

The idea that foul play of this nature could reach a town such as theirs is unheard of, and the arrival of the Obregon family immediately casts suspicion on their high school-aged son, Jacián when Tiffany vanishes. And even though he’s cleared of any suspicion by the sheriff, Kendall is still wary of the moody and hostile boy.

However, as circumstances continue to push the two of them together, she realizes that Jacián may be the only person who can understand what she’s going through, help alleviate some her suffering and figure out the mystery behind Nico’s disappearance.

Author Lisa McMann is an absolutely unique and brilliant writer. The style in which Cryer’s Cross is written has a very similar feel to her WAKE trilogy, making you feel as if you are a voyeur to the story, slightly disconnected, and even as if the main character, too, is somehow distanced from her role in everything that is going on.

The story is eerie and haunting and you can almost feel the tension that builds within Kendall when she has no release for the hold that the OCD has on her. And the end of chapter passages are disturbing and disquieting and will leave you feeling very unsettled as you begin the next.

Cryer’s Cross is a very quick read and one that will completely suck you in, making you feel like you are out there in this small, desolate town with miles of quiet, open space, counting the paces along with Kendall. This is not a story to read while listening to a Clint Mansell score or in quiet solitude or you just may find yourself being lured in by those whispered words to, “save me.” But this is definitely a story you must read.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

From my review above, I’m not sure how clear it is just how much I freaking loved this book. I absolutely love a story that can give you a sad, hollow feeling inside and huge case of the heebie-jeebies. I got no warm fuzzies from reading this and didn’t expect to. But for the few hours I spent devouring this novel I was completely transported into this reality created by the author.

I absolutely love Lisa McMann’s writing. I was completely captivated by her WAKE trilogy, although I do have to read the last book again as I think I might have missed something key when reading it.

But when I first heard about Cryer’s Cross, read the synopsis and listened to the very creepy countdown widget I knew I couldn’t wait to read it. As much as I love those happily ever after love stories, or tragic romantic paranormal dramas, there is nothing quite like a book that leaves you feeling very off-balance and completely spaced out. This is unequivocally that kind of story.

And I cannot forget to say that kudos must be given to the maker of the book trailer which is the perfect companion to the story and is a perfect reflection of the creepy, eeriness that is Cryer’s Cross. And exactly expresses the feeling I got when reading it.

If you are a reader who doesn’t get so immersed in a story that you create a visual picture, just watch this trailer first and it will certainly set this stage for you.

***

To read an excerpt of Cryer’s Cross from Scribd, click here.

Book trailer for Cryer’s Cross:

This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

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