Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Rating: 2.75/5 Stars

Genre: Horror/Mystery

Release Date: 2/8/2011

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About the Book: Cryer's Cross is a small town in Montana (population 212). So when a freshman girl goes missing at the beginning of the summer, the town is thrown into a tailspin. The news especially upsets Kendall, who can't handle the worry with her OCD. When a second student goes missing and this time it's someone close to Kendall, Kendall isn't sure how she can handle it all. When she starts to hear the voices of the missing calling to her and notices messages scratched into a desk, she wonders if there's something dark at work in Cryer's Cross.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I may read a lot of books, but I don't do horror. Scary stories and Sarah do not mix. But I felt like I needed to give this book a shot for a couple of reasons: 1) I wasn't a fan of Ms. McMann's previous works (Wake, Fade and Gone) but really wanted to find something good this time around, and 2) I was attending a event she was speaking at during ALA and I felt like I should read this book before I went. (Those publishers know how to guilt librarians into reading!)

This one's described as a horror, but I never found it. Me, who can't handle the smallest scare, didn't think this book was scary or creepy at all. I think that's because the horror aspect isn't ever really there and when it's thrown in at the end, it happens too soon to have any real effect at all.

There was too much going on in this short book. Kendall has OCD, which seems to come and go at times as the author's way of explaning Kendall's quirks, but I never really got why it was important for us to know she had OCD. After hearing Ms. McMann speak, I understand that she put it in for her daughter, who also has OCD, and she wanted to feature a character where it wasn't the main focus but another aspect of the character and their daily life. A good idea, but it never really seems to work the way it's intended. For reader's without this knowledge of the author's intent it might seem odd and out of place.

There's romance, but it seemed somewhat forced. I also had some issues with the way the romance was handled (spoilery issues, so I won't post too much here). There was almost a love triangle but the author writes an easy way out which really bugged me and didn't sit well with me the whole book. Instead I just got frustrated over the whole thing.

The mystery feels like it's second string to the main story and I'm not even sure what the main story was supposed to be. Sometimes we have a story about Kendall and her OCD, sometimes it's a story about Kendall, a girl who wants to study dance at Julliard, other times it's about Kendall the soccer player or Kendall the girl worried about the missing teens or Kendall who isn't sure what to think about new boy Jacian. The book as a whole never felt like it all worked together-it was choppy mini stories trying to make it together and it just never quite pulls it off.

As for the horror, I just never thought it was there. Maybe some teens will find it gripping and compelling, but for me, it wasn't any creepier than R.L. Stine. And the way everything is wrapped up in the end is rushed, never explained fully and comes out of the blue. The premise is good, but the execution isn't what I had hoped.

On the plus side, I thought the writing was better this time around and I do have hope for Ms. McMann's future works-this one just wasn't for me. I do think it'll fly off the shelves like her previous books, especially with teens looking for a fast, short read.

Book Pairings: I would pair this with the re-released Lois Duncan titles and Carolyn B. Cooney's YA thrillers.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from e-galley recieved from Netgalley


  1. Just finished this recently - and totally share your reactions! However, I did find the end kinda creepy - not Evil Dead so, but definitely wished I hadn't finished it at night! :)

  2. I completely 100% agree with everything you wrote here. I remember also thinking there's a bit too much going on and that the book was all surface and no real depth.

  3. The book was creepy to me, but other than that, I agree 100% with your review. I felt like I had accidentally skipped over 100 pages after I finished it. *sigh*

  4. Ah, see now I liked this book. I thought it was short and creepy and reminded me of the Twilight Zone. But I'm really commenting because I want to say I love your honesty. I am sooo tired of only reading positive (and I mean 5 stars!) reviews on blogs. Thanks for not liking Cryers Cross and for taking the time to say why you didn't like it. You rock.

  5. Hm, I have a copy of this but I've been having a hard time getting the motivation to read it. I didn't love Wake and never read the rest of that series. I was wondering how well she's integrate an OCD character and if it was really necessary.

    Eh, I can't say your review has increased my motivation! But at least now I have some context going in. Thank you. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

  6. Wow, so far all the reviews I've seen for this one have been glowing. I'm going to have to give this one second thought now.


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