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.
My Review: Warning! This review contains spoilers!
Holy-Friggin-Creepy! What is it about small towns and all-boys reform schools that just scream "there's going to be gruesome murders in this story" lol. Seriously...watch The Devil's Backbone and you'll get what I'm saying..that one has murders, babies floating in canning jars, and all sorts of gruesome things...as does Cryer's Cross. I was so enthralled by it that I stayed up till the wee hours just to finish. I have to stop doing that...I look like a zombie at work most days...
The book jumps right into the plot on page one with the disappearance of Tiffany Quinn during the week before summer vacation. The desperation and confusion of the small town of Cryer's Cross is really palpable as everyone wonders what could have happened to the girl in such a tiny, happy town. Kendall Fletcher and her best friend/boyfriend Nico go out with the rest of the town to search for her, but after a few weeks that turn up nothing, life in the farming town has to go on. However, Kendall was really disturbed by the disappearance because of her OCD and it threw off her system. All of the sudden Nico starts to act strangely, and then he disappears too. Eventually, it is Kendall's OCD that makes a connection between the two...oddly, they both shared the same desk, and when Kendall touches the graffiti on the desk she starts to feel calm, and dreamy...only there is this insistent tug towards the woods out by Cryer's Pass...
The characters in this story were really interesting. Cryer's Cross was written in a weird kind of 3rd person. It followed mostly Kendall but then would include something about the other characters, and then there was a chapter now and then told in the perspective of the murdered souls.It seems like I always identify more easily with 1st person narration, and this odd 3rd person narration was very different, so it took me a little bit to jump into the story. I felt a little detached from the characters at times, but you still feel this powerful pull to them and to the story itself.... Kendall's OCD is endearing rather than annoying like some characters with mental illnesses that I have read. She has quite a few ticks and routines that have to do with school, but you don't get a whole lot of it elsewhere until the very end. I like that the thing that saves her from being killed by the "ghosts" is the very thing that hampers her every day life. Jacian was a really interesting character too though I wish we would have seen more of him. He has issues and problems and is hella complicated, but in a good way. We get a little less depth with his character, but I think that is just because of the length of the novel. I loved how Kendall and his relationship grew from a mutual love of soccer, though his cocky comments had me wanting to punch him in the face at times. If he would have had a few more scenes he might have been this week's book boyfriend...idk...he still might lol.
Well, the concept of a haunted desk is certainly original. I personally feel that objects that have had great evil done around or on them can carry a mark of that blackness forever. It's why you get the chills when you see a hanging tree, or walk through the prisons like Alcatraz, or in my case, the Indian Boarding School located 5 miles from my university where the Chippewa Indian tribe's children were forced to live up until the early 70's until in became an insane asylum until the late 90's (I kid you not people...I live within walking distance of this terrifying place). Anyways, it's quite believable that something that was so closely tied to hundreds of murders could carry a piece of those victims inside them, however I would have liked to see more of what the motive was for stealing the children of the local town. Like, did they need a death to equal out their own terrifying demise? Did they want someone to know what happened to them so they drew people in? It seemed quite odd that they just called the kids into the graveyard to rot on top of them. I would have liked some more information on that, but overall it was a really interesting idea.
Rating: I give Cryer's Cross 4 Keys...There could have been more to the paranormal element, and I would have liked to know more about the victims of the Boy's school. Overall an eerie and interesting read :)