Review: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer’s Cross
By Lisa McMann
233 Pages
Published by Simon Pulse

Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer¹s Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she’s not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world’s sweetest boyfriend, behind.

But when Cryer’s Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn’t get close to… the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she’s always loved, Kendall keeps up the search–and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can’t stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried….

So I have this secret fantasy of living in small town Wyoming or Montana and living on a farm, in the clean air and the country, far away from the crowds. It remains a fantasy because I like the conveniences of the city too much and I would last less than one hour doing farm work. The first person or rooster who tried to rouse me from sleep at the crack of dawn would end up with a mouth full of chicklets and I’m not about to milk, seed, or shovel anything. Thus, small town farm living remains a pipe dream. Still, I love reading books set in small rural towns, especially creepy books because I feel that small towns have a certain innate creepiness to them. All that empty space and woods and fields. And in this case, Cryer’s Cross is just a really freaking creepy name. Seriously, who picked that business?

One thing that I found really cool about Cryer’s Cross is that the main character, Kendall, has a disability (OCD) and McMann uses it as part of the story and not just a token throwaway character trait. It actually plays into the story quite a bit. When her best friend/boyfriend Nico disappears her entire life changes and she becomes somewhat obsessed with finding out what happened to him. Then she meets Jacian, the new boy in town, who is initially your typical new boy with an attitude. They start to warm up to one another through their mutual love of soccer, and this causes all kinds of guilty feelings for Kendall. How can she be feeling these feelings for another guy when Nico is missing and she has no idea what happens to him? And why is she hearing his voice in their classroom at school? Why are notes in his handwriting appearing on the desk where he used to sit? What is even going on here?

Fortunately, McMann creates a well-weaved story that explains it all in the end and ties everything up neatly. This was my second Lisa McMann book in as many weeks (Dead to You was the other) and I really enjoy her style. It’s simple and pared down, in a good way. Her books are also incredibly fast reads – at least the two that I’ve read are -though they’re also somewhat quiet and subdued. And like Dead to You, I put this book down in a single sitting.

4/5 Stars

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