Cryer’s Cross Review
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Lately, it seems as though books written for young readers are often outshining more grown-up reads. What started with the Harry Potter craze and continued with Twilight mania has grown into a greater appreciation for kids’ and young adult books. And with books like Lisa McMann’s stunning young adult thriller, Cryer’s Cross, making their way to bookstores, it’s easy to see why more and more adults are borrowing their kids’ books.

The small town of Cryer’s Cross, Montana, is the kind of place where everyone knows everybody else. People there look out for each other. So when a high school girl goes missing one summer, everyone in town joins in a fruitless search.

That fall, when Kendall Fletcher returns to the town’s one-room school for her senior year, she can feel her former classmate’s absence—maybe even more than most kids. Kendall’s quietly controlled OCD compels her to straighten the desks each morning—and she can’t help but notice that one is empty.

  
 
As the school year begins, though, Kendall finds plenty of new distractions. But everything grinds to a halt for Kendall when another classmate goes missing—because, this time, it’s her best friend (some might say her boyfriend), Nico.

While the town searches for another missing teenager, Kendall’s world begins to fall apart—and she finds herself strangely drawn to Nico’s old graffiti-covered desk.

Cryer’s Cross is a dark and haunting thriller—the kind that will keep you up until all hours of the night, compelled by some other-worldly force to keep reading. Even though it was written with young adults in mind, you definitely don’t have to be a teenager to appreciate the story’s eerie suspense.

The isolated, tiny-town setting creates a striking backdrop for a mystery that often feels almost claustrophobic. In such a close-knit community, there’s plenty of neighborly support—but when kids start to go missing, the pool of possible suspects shrinks, and people begin to doubt their friends.

Kendall, on the other hand, is loyal to the end. In fact, she’s the perfect young heroine: smart and thoughtful, athletic and energetic, and just flawed enough to make her interesting. Her OCD gives her personality an unexpected twist—and it often puts her in situations that could be very different for characters without the disorder.

Meanwhile, though, Kendall is still, in many ways, a typical teenager—with hopes, dreams, fears, and emotions. And the arrival Jacián, the handsome but moody outsider, adds plenty of teenage tension to the story—along with an extra hint of suspense, as Kendall wonders if he could be involved in the kidnappings or if (deep, deep down) he could be a good guy after all.

Though the story’s conclusion isn’t flawless, Cryer’s Cross is a perfectly spine-chilling read—and it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read in years. So whether you’re a young adult or a not-so-young adult, you’ll want to pay a visit to this mysterious small town.

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