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I read Lisa McMann’s The Wake trilogy years ago, back before I started writing about books here, back when I stuck with a series even if I didn’t like it and I did NOT like the Wake trilogy. Usually I stop reading an author if I don’t like one book, but sometimes I forget. Even with a bookish blog, handwritten reading journal and rating everything on Good Reads, I still don’t always retain whether or not I liked something. Or maybe it’s because all of this information is poured our of my brain that I don’t remember. Prior to Good Reads and blogging, I occasionally forgot reading entire books until reaching the end and remembering Oh, yeah. I did not love this.

Forgetting to automatically dislike a book isn’t a bad thing. And Cryers Cross sounded intriguing enough, so I said what the heck. I didn’t say it out loud though. I don’t actually talk to books. Most of the time we just dance.

Cryers Cross

Cryers Cross, Montana is a small town. Now take whatever comes to mind when you picture a small town and chop it in half, then in half again and again. My senior high school class had 365 students and I thought that was small. Cryers Cross has a one-room school, grades 1 through 12. Each grade is squared off into neat rows and columns, thanks to Kendall Fletcher’s OCD. There are a handful of students in the senior class and only 8 players on the soccer team. They would have 9 but Tiffany Quin went missing months back.

They never did find Tiffany, but life must move on in this small farm town. Though it doesn’t always move on smoothly, especially when a family moves to town just before a girl goes missing. The brother, Jacian, is in Kendall’s grade and told to buddy up with her when a second student goes missing.

Kendall copes with her friends’ absence by playing soccer with Jacian and trying not to let her OCD control her. She takes disturbing comfort in running her finger over desk graffiti that she could almost swear whispered to her. Then one day she notices new words scratched on these old, old desks as if they were always there.

This is sort of a supernatural mystery watered down with a sort of love story. It’s written in the present tense, which doesn’t usually bother me, but here it oddly kept the book from having any sense of foreboding or atmosphere. The story takes a dark turn – ugly dark, not scary dark – but the end is there right from the beginning. From the cover actually. This may be the first time I’ve noticed a big spoiler on a book’s cover. Look away!

I actually like the idea of taking old objects with a bad history, putting them in a school, giving them power and seeing what happens. Sounds like an Up All Night 80’s horror movie. But to me, the pieces didn’t fit together tight enough. If you like Lisa McMann’s other books, you may enjoy this one, too. I wouldn’t recommend it to my past self, but I’ll probably give the author’s future books a try because I like her ideas.