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CRYER'S CROSS by Lisa McMann

Seventeen-year-old Kendall, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, lives with her parents on a potato farm in a tiny community in Montana, where two teenagers go missing within months of each other, with no explanation.

From the Publisher: The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain. Then a second student goes missingsomeone close to Kendall's heart. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall fears she's losing her grip on reality when she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help. But after she finds messages scratched in a desk at schoolmessages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit thereKendall decides that crazy or not, she'd never forgive herself if she didn't act on her suspicions. Something's not right in Cryer's Crossand Kendall's about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Grades 8-12. Kendall is a senior in a one-room high school where last spring Tiffany, a freshman, disappeared. Now it is the start of a new year, and Kendall’s boyfriend, Nico—the only one who truly understood Kendall’s OCD— has gone missing, too. While compelled to straighten the desks before class one morning, Kendall discovers that Nico’s desk was also Tiffany’s desk. This seems like more than a coincidence, but Kendall is afraid that people will think she is crazy. The town’s dark past is a well-kept secret, and though she doesn’t want to admit it, Kendall will need the help of brooding newcomer Jacian if she is going to find Nico. Kendall is a unique character, and the details of her OCD compulsions are well drawn. Haunting passages from another world, which provide just enough detail to intrigue and disturb readers, are intertwined with Kendall’s story. Part mystery, part ghost story, and part romance, this book has enough to satisfy a variety of readers and will find popularity with McMann’s established fan base and new readers alike.
Horn Book (Fall 2011)

When two schoolmates disappear, Kendall, who has OCD, notices a clue others don't: messages from the missing kids scratched into a school desk. Kendall's investigations into the desk's origin uncover a decades-old tragedy at a nearby reform school--but not before she nearly succumbs herself. Kendall's compulsions, anxiety, and complex relationships are more believable than the premise of a possessed desk enticing teens to suicide.
Kirkus Reviews (January 15, 2011)

High-school junior Kendall Fletcher begins to have real trouble with her obsessive-compulsive disorder after a freshman girl disappears without a trace from her tiny, rural town. When her boyfriend Nico goes missing next, Kendall's OCD symptoms worsen, and she starts to fall apart completely. She begins to hear Nico's voice calling for help and discovers messages scrawled in what used to be his desk. Readers know from the beginning that Kendall isn't crazy, because several chapters, including the very first one, are preceded by italicized passages titled "WE" that reveal the presence of a supernatural entity in Cryer's Cross. But what exactly is it? What town secrets does it conceal? And will Kendall succumb to it, as Nico did? Fans of supernatural thrillers will enjoy this one despite the fact that the resolution is too sudden and the "WE" passages are much more bewildering than scary. The present-tense narration gives the story a sense of immediacy, and the budding romance between Kendall and sexy newcomer Jacin boosts its teen appeal. (Supernatural thriller. 14-18)
Library Media Connection (August/September 2011)

From the very first pages, this book will grab the reader and not let go! A freshman girl goes missing in the small town of Cryer's Cross, and Kendall starts to worry. She's got OCD and now everything is not in place. When her best friend disappears a few weeks later, her concern turns to alarm and she is barely able to function. Nico seems to be crying to her from his desk graffiti, and strange things happen when she succumbs to the siren call. Meanwhile, the new kids in town, Marlena and her brother Jacian, provide some distraction. Kendall finds herself attracted to Jacian, even though her guilt about Nico threatens to derail that relationship. Teens will love the intrigue and the love interest. Wonderful dialog, realistic characters and situations, and a fast-moving plot make this one a winner. Rita Fontinha, YA Librarian, Milton (Massachusetts) Public Library [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] RECOMMENDED
Publishers Weekly (January 3, 2011)

In this ghost story, McCann (the Wake trilogy) delivers an atmospheric but unsatisfying tale of smalltown horror. Kendall Fletcher, a soccer player with obsessive-compulsive disorder who dreams of performing on Broadway, is determined to escape her tiny hometown of Cryer's Cross, Mont., by getting into Juilliard. When her best friend, Nico, is the second student to vanish mysteriously in recent months, it throws Kendall's ordered life into disarray. Soon, enigmatic daydreams and clues lead her to believe that Nico is the latest victim of a supernatural mystery, and she may be the next target. A handsome but surly newcomer, Jacian, may be the key to surviving whatever is preying on the teens of Cryer's Cross. While the remote, rural setting is laden with potential (the one-room high school has only 24 students) and the constant whirring of Kendall's OCD-afflicted mind adds an interesting dimension, the elements never completely gel. McMann handles the buildup of the story's tension well, but her resolution feels quick and easy, and even bloody final revelations can't mitigate a premise that's far more silly than spooky. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (February 1, 2011)

Gr 7-10-This horror/suspense offering never really gets a full shiver going, even though McMann infuses her story with a 50-year-old wooden school desk and a menacing collective of tortured souls possessing it. Even when the desk-spirits seem to explain the bizarre disappearances of two of several high school students in the tiny Montana town of Cryer's Cross, the intended creep factor intended falls short. What doesn't fall short is the solid characterization of Kendall, a senior who tries to keep control of her OCD even after Nico, her best boy-friend since infancy, goes missing. Weird carved messages show up on the desk he was using before his disappearance, and Kendall thinks she hears his voice when she sits at it. Luckily, she has the distractions of soccer, a new boy from Arizona who slowly warms up to her, and her family's potato harvest to keep her from obsessing about Nico's loss and the eerie desk-until they just become too compelling. Then she, too, faces danger from the trapped entities that inhabit the desk. The mystery of why and how the desk is possessed and urging teenagers to harm themselves is given a quick and illogical gloss over when explained. Discerning readers are unlikely to suspend disbelief, but they may find character and setting help redeem the book.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.