Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Year Published: 2011
Synopsis: Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's 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...
Review: I really loved McMann's Wake/Fade/Gone series, and I was really looking forward to this being the horror equivalent of them. While it is reminiscent of that series, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much, although it was still a nice, easy read.
I think one of my biggest problems with this book was with the main character, Kendall. She's a teenager growing up in a small town who also happens to have OCD. Her best friend, Nico, is also her boyfriend, although she doesn't like to use labels like that because it implies commitment. And that was my first issue with her - if you don't want to be committed to Nico, you shouldn't be in a relationship with him just because it's easy and comfortable and your parents always talk about how you'll be together forever. He's a super nice guy and a great boyfriend, but don't lead him on if you aren't in love with him.
Another problem I had with Kendall was that her OCD is talked about and said to be the cause of many things, but I just didn't feel like it was dealt with very well. I know it's an important plot point, but I wanted to be shown how it affected her life and her actions instead of just being told "Kendall's OCD kicked in and she did this." There was so much telling like that, and to me it just makes things drag on.
I actually really liked Jacian and Marlena, although I wish we had seen more of Marlena. Jacian almost seems too good to be true, and I was annoyed at first with him because it seemed like Nico's disappearance was just a way to slap Kendall and Jacian together. Most of the book ends up being more romance than horror, with Kendall trying to hold out hope that Nico will return, and then her slowly falling for Jacian and him for her, but I don't think that it felt rushed or unrealistic. Jacian is understanding, but he tells it like it is.
The horror part of this book to me felt really... cheesy, I guess. The whole thing boils down to a haunted desk. Like, really? There could have been so much more to it than that. And Kendall doesn't even know WHY the desk is haunted until the very end. The place it comes from is briefly mentioned, but I really wanted her to go there and explore or do some research or something... not wind up doing exactly what the other kids did and end up being saved because her "OCD kicked in" again. I wouldn't even really classify this as horror.
I think overall, this book is a nice weekend read. It's short and simple and pretty easy to get through if you don't mind third person present tense. If you're looking for a contemporary romance with a little bit of supernatural thriller/horror thrown in, this is the book for you. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. I'll still be looking for more of McMann's books in the future. 3/5