McMann, Lisa. Cryer’s Cross. New York: Simon Pulse, 2011. Print.
Kendall Fletcher lives in the small Montana town of Cryer’s Cross. It’s the kind of town where everyone knows everyone else and nothing bad ever happens, until the book starts, at least. A freshman at the local high school goes missing and the town is in shock. Then another kid goes missing and the townspeople realize there is something wrong. On top of that, two siblings move to town, and they seem awfully suspicious.
This book has been on my radar for quite a while. I recently saw it at my favorite used bookstore and I was in the mood for something a little creepy (it was around Halloween), so I finally decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the biggest fan. It wasn’t very creepy or scary, granted, it’s pretty difficult to scare me, but I did like the overall atmosphere.
The biggest problem I had with Cryer’s Cross was the narration. It is told from a third person present tense point of view, and I can’t remember reading anything else with that point of view. Or if I have, it was better executed. Here it felt very cold and detached, and not at all descriptive. It made it difficult for me to get into the story.
One interesting thing about this book was the fact that Kendall, the protagonist, has OCD. I do not have OCD or personally know anyone who does, so I can’t say if the portrayal was realistic or not, but it’s always nice to see those kinds of things being represented, especially in young adult books. I think mental illness is a subject that deserves to be written about more because many adolescents do struggle with things like that.
Apart from that one unique characteristic, I didn’t really like any of the characters. They just weren’t interesting. There was also a very unnecessary and unrealistic romance subplot thrown in, and it was almost insta-love. And above all of that, the big reveal at the end was unsatisfying. With that being said, I probably would have enjoyed it when I was in middle school or ninth grade. I read a lot of mildly creepy books back then.
I don’t think I’d ever teach this in school. I mean, there aren’t any real “teachable” aspects except Kendall’s OCD. I think students may enjoy reading it purely for entertainment, especially around October, but, unfortunately, I can’t see it leading to any valuable discussions.