Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Tags: YA, horror, paranormal, small towns, mystery


Nothing ever happens in the small town of Cryer’s Cross, Montana, population 212—until an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. The girl’s disappearance wracks the whole town, but especially affects Kendall, who has OCD. When Kendall’s best friend Nico disappears next, she is beside herself, yet determined to find out what happened to him.

Jacian, the new boy in town, raises her suspicions, but things change the day Kendall hears voices coming from Nico’s former desk. What secrets does that desk hide about their town? Kendall may find out, but it may cost her her life.


CRYER’S CROSS is a fantastically creepy paranormal horror story from the incredible storyteller Lisa McMann. Whether or not you like horror stories, this is a really engaging quick read that may even be better than her Wake series.

Lisa McMann’s third-person present-tense writing style brings a simultaneous immediacy and calculated distance to the story. Everything that is happening to Kendall feels like it’s happening to her right this very moment, which makes it really easy to get caught up in what’s going on with her. At the same time, the distance makes it easy for us to enjoy CRYER’S CROSS as simply an exhilarating and fast-paced horror novel.

CRYER’S CROSS’ creepiness factor comes less from the actual physical object of horror and more on the way individuals’ suspicions slowly insinuates themselves into the townspeople’s minds. It’s what made Jacian and Kendall’s budding relationship so dear to me: that it could still build in this slow, tortured, believable, and utterly sexy way despite the unusual happenings in town. Yes, I have a tiny crush on Jacian. I have a soft spot for dark, broody, tortured, protective minority sweethearts.

Kendall’s OCD, which purports to have a significant contribution to her fascination with her town’s mystery, felt rather undeveloped for its supposed significance. I’ve read other books featuring OCD characters before, and Kendall’s OCD just never felt completely realized. Despite that, though, I really liked Kendall. She is a star soccer player without the jockish trappings, has a good relationship with her parents, and is good about making friends. Some of her interactions with people felt a little simplistic, like they were simply for the convenience of revealing something about the story. However, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

I don’t like to be scared, but CRYER’S CROSS was a psychological thriller with an appreciable amount of interesting characters to keep me invested. Lisa McMann proves that she is the master of writing horror stories for those who don’t like horror.

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - I couldn't figure out what it was for the longest time... but now that I've read the story, I think it's utterly appropriate.

Simon & Schuster / Feb. 8, 2011 / Hardcover / 240pp. / $16.99

ARC received from Around the World Tours.


  1. I enjoyed this one too. It was creepy! I read it late at night, which didn't help! This is the first Lisa McMann book I've read and I was impressed!

  2. I wasn't a big fan of this one, but I know the teens at my library are going to love it!

  3. I wasn't big on WAKE (the pacing), but I may read this one to see how I feel about McMann now that she's had time to polish her skills.

  4. It's funny that in my review of this book I didn't even mention the OCD. While I really liked this book, the OCD was not a focal point for me. I didn't think it came through as being important for Kendall's path through this story.

    Good review!

  5. I completely agree with this review - I loved Cryer's Cross too. I also agree that it's horror for those who don't like horror.. spot on :)


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