Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Cryer’s Cross

Author: Lisa McMann

Published: February 8th, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Number of Pages: 240

Rating: 3/5


I highly regret this day in advance.


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. [From Goodreads]


I’ve heard plenty of great things about Lisa McMann, but I tried to keep my expectations reasonable as I dove into Cryer’s Cross. While I wasn’t blown away, I can happily report that Cryer’s Cross will likely be a hit among McMann fans.

Life certainly isn’t as simple and routine as it appears in the small town of Cryer’s Cross. McMann does a fantastic job of effortlessly showing the reader how comfortable the people of the town are in their way of life. Things are uncomplicated and proceed in a laid-back, seamless way. Of course, that’s all before the story begins. Mundane routines are not the makings of a good story.

But murder? Make that a murder and a disappearance? Now that’s what readers are waiting for. Cryer’s Cross does not disappoint in the area of intrigue. The general idea of the novel is precisely what a person would look for in a thriller. I loved the fact that there was undeniably something… unnatural going on beneath the surface, and the promise of that weird something kept me reading.

However, I finished the book feeling rather let down. The mystery wasn’t as complex as I had hoped. On the other hand, the climax of the novel was perfect. Perfectly disgusting, terrifying, and altogether ideal for a thriller. The sweet moments of pure revulsion are just what the story needs.

Aside from the climax, there were two other highlights – the romance and the way McMann portrays Kendell’s OCD. I’d never had a clear idea of what OCD is. Kendell’s life is constantly affected by it. Every moment from the one in which she wakes up to the one in which she falls asleep is mandated by her small obsessions. She makes it to school early to straightens desks, for example, and her entire morning is thrown off when she fails to follow her routine. On the other hand, there are times when her obsessive compulsiveness comes in handy, and I think part of Kendell’s story is the process she goes through to realize there’s a reason for the way she is.

The romantic plotline wasn’t unique in the way it played out, but I believe that’s simply because the method McMann used is tried and true. Every reader falls for the hard-to-get boy with the tough exterior, right? While slightly unoriginal, it works as beautifully as always and was a treat amidst the darkness of the mystery/thriller plotline.

Overall, the book didn’t wow me or prove exceptional, but it’s certainly worth your time if you’re a fan of Lisa McMann or quirky thrillers. There’s also something about mysteries set in small towns that gets me every time.

3 Commentsto “Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann; Review”

  1. i haven't read any of lisa mcmann's books yet…but i really want to read the wake series! this one sounds interesting, too. maybe i'll give it a try 🙂

    anyway, you've won an award on my blog!

  2. Hmm, what was the writing like? I remember I hated it in Wake, but is this book written in the same style? Will definitely say it's unique though. I love the fact that this is a good thriller/mystery, I might check out this book just because of that because i'm always in want of more of it! Great review Madeleine 🙂

    • Uh… It was adequate. Nothing particularly special, but it did the job. I think you should read it simply because I'd love to read your review. ;D

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