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. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. (goodreads summary),
The story opens with the end of Kendall's junior year and the community is searching for Tiffany Quinn. Eventually over the summer people stop talking about the disappearance and a new school year resumes. Kendall, who also has OCD, tries to manage her challenges on a daily basis living on a small farm in Montana and starting her senior year. She arrives the first day of school doing her usual routines but finds it more difficult with Tiffany's desk sitting empty and new changes ahead. The only one who understands her is Nico Cruz her best friend whom she has known her whole life. In the meantime, two new students Marlena and Jacian Obregon move to Cryer's Cross from Arizona. Marlena is happy about the move but her brother Jacian is not thrilled with the new transition to such a small town. He is hard to reach and seems very withdrawn. Kendall moves on with her new school year and one day notices some changes developing with Nico. He seems to be in a sleepy state and one day turns up vanishing just like Tiffany had months before. The community issues a curfew and a buddy system for all students and Kendall's buddy ends up becoming Jacian. As she tries to deal with the grief and loss of Nico, she also finds herself fighting feelings for Jacian. One day, she notices strange messages appearing on the desk that Nico once sat at during school asking for help. She also pieces together that it is the same desk that Tiffany sat at as well. Kendall finds herself becoming entranced with the eerie messages and soon believes that she hears Nico's voice calling to her for help. Will she find what is behind the strange feelings and messages to possibly save Nico from being lost forever if he is truly trying to reach her?
I was very uncertain about this book when I finished the last pages. It will probably be viewed differently to other readers. It had a teenage girl with OCD, a best friend who wasn't sure if he was a boyfriend, a new guy that was hard to connect to, the mystery of missing teenagers, a little bit of romance, adults with secret pasts and some supernatural elements. It had a lot packed into this fast paced, easy-to-read book. I found myself reading it in one day because I was determined to find out what was with the creepy desk? It was definitely written with a small town feel making the townspeople and families seem realistic as well as Kendall's daily struggle with OCD. It was not that extreme but just enough for me to feel what it would be like to be the character. As the days move on, Kendall also finds herself having unsure feelings about Jacian. I didn't connect with this part of the storyline and wasn't sure if it was going to lead into him being a likely suspect in Nico's disappearance. When the end finally revealed the paranormal side of the story, I felt like I just read a John Saul book. I will say it was chilling and creepy with a bit of a disturbing twist with that desk that kept my wondering thoughts alive. Reading about the lost souls in the book were sad and the thought of how they became that way was even sadder for my soft heart. It did have a few profanities but it wasn't anything out of the norm. I usually enjoy a good ghost story and will say that this one was unique. It's a book where either you'll like it or not. I'm glad that I did give it a try and I probably would look for other books by this author just to get a feel for her talents. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 14 and up.~
Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Pub. date: February 2011, Simon Pulse
Genre: young adult, mystery/supernatural
Hardcover, 233 pages