Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Love Story

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  She's writing about him. he's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

My thoughts:  This is the first book I have read from Jennifer Echols.  It was a sweet and fast read, which was perfect for me as I am on vacation this week and read this book in the sun while totally relaxing!

Erin lives on a horse farm in Kentucky with her grandma.  She dreams of being a writer and of moving to New York.  When Erin moves to New York to go to school, her grandma cuts her off financially.  She is so upset with Erin for leaving she puts Hunter, the stable boy, in her will instead as he has said he will take over the farm.  Then, Erin is surprised when she sees Hunter walk into one of her writing classes.  He is in the class as Erin reads her steamy scene about a stable boy in front of the class.  So Hunter writes one steamy scene of his own in return.

I really enjoyed all the characters.  Erin was ambitious and focused on her goals.  Summer was just fun and Hunter was your typical hottie!  I also really enjoyed the relationship of Erin and her grandma.  I only wish there had been more of it. 

I loved how Erin and Hunter wrote stories back and forth.  It was a new and refreshing idea and was it was so fun to read the storied between the two.

The ending was a little rushed and left something to be desired but it wasn't a horrible ending.  I just felt that it could have been a little longer. 

I did really enjoy this book and thought it was a perfect, light read for a summer vacation.  I think most teenage girls will enjoy this story as well and would recommend it.  I will be reading more from this author for sure!

Book Review: Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

Title:  Hades
Author:  Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date:  August 30, 2011

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Even the love of her boyfriend, Xavier Woods, and her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep the angel Bethany Church from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly her loved ones as well. Can he be trusted in this wager? And what does Jake have Xavier believing about Beth’s fate that may result in an act of betrayal that will leave Bethany – and readers – wondering if Xavier is so good after all?

My Thoughts:  Well, I have to admit, I liked this books SO much better than Halo!  It still isn't a favorite but it was much better than the first book.

Bethany is still together with Xavier.  Bethany and Ivy and Gabriel are still living in Venus Cove.  It is Halloween and Beth goes with Xavier and Molly to a Halloween party.  Some of the girls want to play on a Ouija board and despite not being comfortable with it, Beth goes along.  Then, everything goes wrong.  The girls let out a spirit, Bethany loses track of Xavier and is tricked onto a motorcycle and ends up in Hell with Jake.  The rest of the book focuses on how Beth is going to get out of Hell.

So, things I liked about this book:
  • I really liked the new characters, Tuck and Hannah.  Tuck was so funny and I was really wanted him to get out of Hell.  He really helped Beth and genuinely liked her.
  • Molly became a little more mature in this book.  Not a lot, but enough that she wasn't quite as annoying as in the first book.  
  • Much more action packed and faster paced.  I read this book much faster than the first because I thought it was more interesting.  The descriptions of Hell were great.  I could feel the heat of the Pit and hear the screams of the tortured.  I liked how there were different realms of Hell as well.
  • I liked that Taylah was brought back for a little while.  While I didn't care for what happened to her, it was apparent that she had matured as well.
  • I loved the scenes with the nuns.  It was a part of the book that I couldn't put down until I found out how Gabriel, Ivy, Xavier and Molly took care of the problem. 
Now for the things I didn't like:
  • An angel would not play with a Ouija board in my opinion.  No ifs, ands or buts about it. The author talked about putting a glass upside down on the board.  All the boards I've seen (and the one I used one time and one time only) had a planchette.  Just thought that was a little strange.
  • Again, I got tired of hearing about how perfect, beautiful, etc. Ivy and Gabriel were.  One time was enough but throughout the book, every time one of them was talked about we heard about how perfect they were.  The author also felt the need to constantly describe Xavier's hair.  Instead of just saying "Xavier pushed his hair out of his eyes" the author constantly focused on the color saying "Xavier pushed his nutmeg brown hair out of his eyes".  One time was fine but every time?  I think I know what color his hair is. 
  • I was not impressed with what Beth did to Tucker in the end.  I can't say anymore or I'd have to do a spoiler alert but I didn't like it at all!
  • Hades is not Hell.  In the book, the author constantly referred to Hell as Hades.  Hades is the Underworld in Greek Mythology and also the name of the God that rules the Underworld.  This just bothered me a little because it seemed that the research was not completely done.
  • I hated Hannah's story.  I mean really?  This is the reason she is in Hell?  I just didn't buy it.  I thought her story could have been much more horrible. 
  • The whole "tricked onto a motorcycle" thing was bad.  How stupid can Beth be?  It just didn't work for me at all!
So yes, this book was better than Halo but not by a lot.  The good thing was that it was faster paced so it didn't take up as much of my time as the first book.  I'm still not sure if I will read Heaven...we will just have to see.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 7/19/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I had no idea how long it would be before I saw it again.  The last thing I was aware of was falling and the sound of my own ragged screams before the darkness consumed us."
Page 64 of Hades by Alexandra Adornetto
**Taken from an ARC copy.  Contents subject to change**

Book Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo (Halo, #1)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

My Thoughts:  Well, I liked this book somewhat.  I didn't hate it but there was so much that annoyed me that I can't say that I even really liked it.  It was okay for me.

Bethany comes to Venus Cove from Heaven.  She arrives with the archangel, Gabriel and another angel, Ivy.  They are all beautiful of course.  They are celestial beings after all.  Their mission at Venus Cove is to get rid of any dark presences in the area and bring the community together. 

Bethany arrives at school and falls in love with the school captain, Xavier, who is (obviously) beautiful and perfect as well.  Angels and humans are not suppose to fall in love so there is a small controversy over this issue but nothing huge like you would think it would be.  Then Jake Thorn enters the picture and that is where things go downhill.  Bethany, Xavier, Gabriel and Ivy have to stop this dark force before it is too late.

Things I liked about this book:
  • The religion aspect of the book.  I realize the book is about Angels and therefore you would think it would include Heaven and God as well but I have read many books that don't include religion with the angel theme.  I am a Christian so I really appreciated this.  I mean really....without God and Heaven there wouldn't even be angels.
  • I liked how Ivy and Gabriel brought the community together.  The book had some focus on how great community service is and that is important for teens to understand. 
  • I also liked how the book emphasized no sex before marriage.  Now, I am no naive fool here...I know hardly anyone waits until marriage but's nice to see a book promote that.
Okay, so that was about all I liked about this book.  Now onto the things I didn't like:
  • Hearing how beautiful Beth, Ivy, Gabriel and Xavier are!  I mean, a few times is okay but every other page is a little excessive. 
  • How immature Beth's friends are.  I mean, I remember being a teen so I don't expect them to be perfect but they really started to annoy me after awhile with how totally vain and fake they were. 
  • Beth's dependency on Xavier.  She was really weak.  I hated how they broke up and she literally wouldn't get out of bed until Xavier came back.  I remember breaking up with my boyfriends in high school and it was tough but whole world ending?  It felt like it for a day maybe. 
  • Beth and Xavier's whole relationship in general.  It was sickening!  Xavier waited on Beth hand and foot and wouldn't even let her carry her own books.  They couldn't stand to be away from each other for more than a few hours and even then they thought only of the other person.  It was just really extreme and really annoying.
  • The ending was okay but dumb can Bethany be?  She feels that she HAS to save her friend which is great but we all know that she and Xavier alone cannot go up against this evil force.  Yet she does it anyway.  Of course, she gets herself in trouble.  It was just so predictable one of those B-rated horror movies where the heroine sees or hears something outside and goes out to investigate it in her skimpy nightie and then gets slashed...yeah, it was like that. 
  • The book was really about 200 pages too long.  Had the author taken out some (a lot) of the romance and Beth moping around when she wasn't with Xavier, it would have maybe been better.  It was a little too long and a little too slow.
  • Bethany didn't really do a lot to help the community.  She's an angel and really all she does is hang on Xavier and whine when he's not around.  There was one small part where she kinda helped a soul cross over but nothing huge and dramatic.  Gabriel taught music at the school.  He is an archangel and all he did was teach? 
So, I am now reading Hades on an ARC tour.  Here's hoping for a better (and faster) reading experience.  All in all, I didn't hate the book but I didn't really like it either.  It was just okay.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

A Beautiful Dark
Title:  A Beautiful Dark
Author:  Jocelyn Davies
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publish Date:  9/27/11
Source:  Around the World ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Skye never questioned the story of her life. Her Aunt Jo adopted her after the death of her parents when she was just a child, and together they flip through memories the way some people flip through photo albums.

She never questioned if the stories were true.

Until the night of her 17th birthday, when the arrival of two strangers intrudes on her cozy life. Polar opposites, like fire and ice, Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair, cold, and aloof. Skye has no idea what they want—only that their presence coincides with the beginning of some shockingly strange events. Events that Skye, if she dares to think it, might be responsible for causing.

High up in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado, Skye finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient battle, one that began untold millennia ago. Torn between unpredictable Asher, whom she loves, and the infuriating Devin, who she can’t stay away from, her fate is murky as a starless night. And as the secrets of her true identity are revealed, Skye realizes that her destiny may reside in the Heavens—or somewhere darker.

My Thoughts:  17 year old Skye lives with her "Aunt" Jo.  When Skye was 6, her parents died in a car accident.  Miraculously, Skye came out of the accident untouched.  The book starts on Skye's 17th birthday where she has headed into the local coffee shop to meet with friends for a party. While there, she meets Asher, a mysterious and very cute guy.  She also meets Devin when him and Asher start to fight inside.  From that point on, Skye's life turns upside down and she finds out that everything she thought she knew about herself was wrong. 

I really liked Skye for the most part.  She is torn between Devin and Asher but the romance didn't take over the story.  Throughout the book, I struggled with who I wanted Skye to be with too....until the last few chapters.  Then I was rooting for Asher!  He was your typical rebel.  He didn't like to follow rules but he was always there for Skye.  Devin was too much of a "good" guy for me.  He followed rules, he didn't push Skye (except with her powers) and he just didn't have a ton of charm and personality for me. 

I enjoyed the secondary characters as well.  Cassie was so fun and chipper all the time.  I would love to have had her for my best friend in high school.  Plus, the girl can sing and she is pretty.  Ian is the guy that likes Skye but Skye likes him as a friend only.  Dan is Cassie's good friend and I love how their relationship develops.  I also really liked Aunt Jo.  As is usual for YA books, she was hardly ever there but I did like that there was a legit explanation for her missing and when Skye got hurt on the ski trip, Aunt Jo showed up.

The ending was amazing!  The cliffhanger has me wanting to read book 2 now!  However, I wasn't impressed with what happens to Cassie but that's just because I don't know how it ends and I really like Cassie.  No more on that though or I'll have to add a spoiler alert! 

I also enjoyed this book because it was about angels but not your typical fallen angel story.  It has some interesting elements to it and I loved the legend that Asher tells at the campfire. 

The only thing I didn't really like was how Cassie, Ian and Dan (but especially Ian) disappear from the story for awhile.  I realize that Skye was overwhelmed with all the new information she was getting but Ian really just disappears for a few chapters.  He does make a comeback though so it wasn't enough to really ruin anything for me. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Solstice by P.J. Hoover


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Where Mythology and Dystopia meet...

Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.

My Thoughts:  I love Greek Mythology!  I'm no expert on it but I love to read it!  Solstice had mythology mixed with dystopian...and it was great!

Piper lives in Texas where global warming has become a scary reality.  The average temperature was over 105 degrees! There are no pretty green trees or grass because everything has died.  Cooling gels are sprayed outside to cook people off (much like the cooling mists of water at Disneyland).   

Piper's mom is on the council and doesn't like how they are handling the global warming issue but is more interested in her greenhouse and being extremely protective over Piper's life.  

Piper has some questions about who she really is however.  She has found out that her mom has lied to her about something really important and a customer at their greenhouse has given Piper a mysterious box.  Then there is the issue of Reese and Shayne.  They are new guys at school and yet everyone seems to think they have been there all year.  Yeah, strange right?

This book was fast paced and so different!  Piper was a very realistic character and was caring and strong.  I loved how she was able to stand up to her mom about the tattoo and is also strong enough to fight a Fate and other dark gods from the underworld.  

Filled with romance, danger, action and excitement, Solstice is an amazing story!  If you like Greek Mythology, dystopian novels or just an exciting, fast read then I suggest you go out and get this one on your e-reader!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Boyfriend From Hell by E. Van Lowe

Boyfriend from Hell 
Title:  Boyfriend From Hell
Author:  E. Van Lowe
Publisher:  White Whisker Books
Publish Date:  9/10/11

Synopsis (from book):  Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationship—they are friends, close friends, who do almost everything together.
“But come on, guys, she’s my mother… Can I really tell her that while we’re snuggled up on the sofa watching Spider Man Three, I’m secretly undressing James Franco with my eyes? Of course not…”
The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decides to start dating again. She hasn’t had a man in her life since Megan’s father left ten years ago.
Enter two mysterious young men, Megan’s new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson, and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando. Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships. But neither of the handsome pair is quite what he seems. In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride. Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him. If she doesn’t, either Megan or Suze are quite literally going to HELL.

My Thoughts:  I was excited to get an ARC of this book to read and I wasn't disappointed.  It was a quick and fun read! 

Megan and her mom are great friends!  They have been since Megan's father left when Megan was little.  As Megan is getting older however, she is finding it harder to talk to her mom about certain boys.  Suze however wants to talk to Megan about dating, especially since Suze is starting to date again.  Megan tries to be supportive when Suze starts dating Armand but there is soon tension between mother and daughter. 

Then Megan starts her own relationship with Guy Matson and soon discovers that one of these men is the Devil himself and he is looking for a bride.  Megan must find a way to stop him before she or her mom ends up as his bride.

Megan is really annoying at first.  Seriously, I wanted to smack her more than once but her jealous, childish behaviour works for the story.  In the end, I really liked her. 

This is the first book in a series and it has me wanting to read more.  There is no huge cliffhanger at the end but there is enough to let you know that there is more to come.  It was a fun book to read and I easily read it in a few days. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Book Review: Frost by Marianna Baer

Title:  Frost
Author:  Marianna Baer
Publisher:  Balzer & Bray
Publish Date:  9/13/11
Source:  Around The World ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

My Thoughts:  This book was a great ghost story!  I loved the haunted house aspect of it and read it quickly because I had to see how it ended!

Leena goes to Barcroft, a private boarding school.  The end of her junior year she finds Frost House, an little Victorian charmer that has been converted to a small dorm for boys.  Leena instantly falls in love with it and convinces the Dean of students to let her and her 2 friends live in it for their senior year.

Leena moves in the first day of school with Vivian and Abby and has a surprise.  There is a very handsome boy in her room unpacking.  She quickly finds out that David is the eccentric Celeste's brother.  Celeste is an artsy type that Leena thinks has a bipolar personality.  Leena is not thrilled at the prospect of rooming with Celeste but she deals with it. 

Celeste immediately decides she does not like the room she has to share with Leena and especially doesn't like the large walk-in closet.  She claims it smells like something dead.  Leena is surprised because she feels a sense of comfort and home in the closet.  Then, weird things start to happen to Celeste.  Pictures fall off the wall and vases break for no apparent reason.  Celeste also swears someone is watching her.  After David and Leena hook up, Celeste moves out of the bedroom into a smaller room.  Leena isn't sure if it is because she hooked up with David or if it is something more but she is happy to have the bedroom and closet all to herself.

This book is creepy and mysterious. There are many different explanations for things thrown around in the book and so I never quite knew what I thought was really happening.  At first, I was a little disappointed what I thought was the end explanation but once again, the author surprised me and while most people believed the reasonable explanation, Leena, Celeste and even Vivian still had questions. 

I read this book in 2 days and loved the fact that it kept me riveted the whole time.  I love a good, honest ghost story and this fit the bill!  I look forward to reading more from this author!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

I'll Walk Alone

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Who has not read about—or experienced—with a sinking feeling the fear that someone else out there may be using your credit cards, accessing your bank account, even stealing your identity.
In I ll Walk Alone, Alexandra “Zan” Moreland, a gifted, beautiful interior designer on the threshold of a successful Manhattan career, is terrified to discover that somebody is not only using her credit cards and manipulating her financial accounts to bankrupt her and destroy her reputation, but may also be impersonating her in a scheme that may involve the much more brutal crimes of kidnapping and murder. Zan is already haunted by the disappearance of her own son, Matthew, kidnapped in broad daylight two years ago in Central Park—a tragedy that has left her torn between hope and despair.
Now, on what would be Matthew’s fifth birthday, photos surface that seem to show Zan kidnapping her own child, followed by a chain of events that suggests somebody—but who? Zan asks herself desperately, and why?—has stolen her identity.
Hounded by the press, under investigation by the police, attacked by both her angry ex-husband and a vindictive business rival, Zan, wracked by fear and pain and sustained only by her belief, which nobody else shares, that Matthew is still alive, sets out to discover who is behind this cruel hoax.
What she does not realize is that with every step she takes toward the truth, she is putting herself— and those she loves most—in mortal danger from the person who has ingeniously plotted out her destruction.
Even Zan’s supporters, who include Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner and amateur detective, and Father Aiden O’Brien, who thinks that Zan may have confessed to him a secret he cannot reveal, believe she may have kidnapped little Matthew. Zan herself begins to doubt her own sanity, until, in the kind of fast-paced explosive ending that is Mary Higgins Clark’s trademark, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place with an unexpected and shocking revelation.

My Thoughts:  So, I used to really enjoy Mary Higgins Clark's books (her early work) and would be excited when a new one came out.  After the last few I have read, I'm thinking I won't bother reading her books anymore.

I'm not sure what happened here....if I just grew up or if MHC's writing has changed but I do not like the general "voice" of the book.  I hate how the characters let you know things that happened in the past by thinking about it.  Also, the tone just comes across as childish to me. 

Alexandra (Zan) has had an extremely rough life lately.  First, her parents are killed on the way to the airport in Rome, Italy.  They were on their way to pick Zan up for a visit as she wasn't able to visit them for over 2 years because of her very needy boss.  Then, she calls the guy she is seeing and he comes to help her.  She ends up marrying him, divorcing him, finding out she's pregnant and when her son turns two, he is kidnapped out of his stroller in Central Park while the babysitter sleeps.  Then, to top it off, her credit cards have been stolen and someone is charging up a huge bill.  Zan is gorgeous and thin.  In fact, if I had to read how gorgeous and thin she was one more time in the book, I was going to throw it out the window.  I swear, everytime Zan was mentioned, it was also mentioned that she was gorgeous and thin. 

Ted, Zan's ex-husband is livid with her for losing Matthew (their son) and is always blaming her.  He's a PR man and so we have to deal with his relationship with an immature singer.  He is really very annoying.

Alvirah and Willy, the lottery winners from previous books, are also in this book.  That was the only saving grace for me as I love Alvirah. 

Zan also lands a job decorating a new apartment complex and meets Kevin Wilson.  There really is no romance here at all but Kevin, even though he has never met Zan, instantly believes in her and trusts her.  When she is arrested he continues to stand by her.  I find this hard to believe that someone would actually do this but I guess it could, maybe, happen.

There are other characters that are, in my opinion, just useless.  They are used to fill the pages but have to real part in the story.  The story was extremely predictable (I knew who did it at the beginning despite MHC's attempts to throw you off the trail).  It was an easy read and would have been a fast read if it held my attention for any length of time but this book was very easy for me to put down and get distracted by stuff like cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry.  Yeah, that's how much I didn't like it!

If you like MHC, go ahead and try this book.  I may just be burnt out on her.  I didn't care for it but it doesn't mean someone else won't love it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer's Cross

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  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.

My Thoughts:  I loved how incredibly creepy this story was without being gory and full of disgusting, bloody details.  It was all about making you feel uneasy and since I was reading this book at night and alone, I certainly felt uneasy! 

Kendall lives in a very small town in Montana.  Her family farms along with most every other family that lives in Cryer's Cross.  Last year, a sophomore disappeared.  There were no clues as to where she went.  She was just gone.  Kendall and her best friend Nico help search but in the end Tiffany is just gone.  Then school starts and Kendall and Nico start their senior year.  Suddenly, Nico seems distant and preoccupied.  Kendall worries about Nico until one night, he too disappears.  Now Kendall, along with new students Jacien and Marlena, have to find out what is going on.

I connected with Kendall immediatley!  I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone's business and I also suffer from OCD.  I appreciate how the author really portrayed OCD.  It isn't always about compulsive hand washing, like many people think.  Each person's OCD is different but like Kendall, I must go through my house and make sure that the doors/windows are locked (not 6 times but 3).  I understood her anxiety when she wasn't able to get into the school early to do her morning "routine" and make sure everything was in it's correct spot.  I can tell you if something has been messed with even if the average person can't tell.  If I can't do certain things when I need too, the anxiety is outrageous!  And it gnaws at you until you are able to fix it.  McMann was able to portray this is Kendall realistically. 

I liked that there wasn't a ton of romance in this book.  There was some, don't get me wrong but it wasn't an overwhelming issue.  I really enjoyed Jacien and his broding attitude but I also appreciated Kendall's confusion and guilt after Nico disappears.  She doesn't think she should be having fun with another guy while Nico is missing.  I also understand her confusion in her feelings for Nico.  He's her best friend and while he wants to be her boyfriend, she feels like he is just a brother. 

I enjoyed the creep factor in this story along with the history.  I only wish that we could have found out how exactly Kendall's OCD helped her get out of her dicey situation.  I loved the ending that left you hanging a little.  Hopefully there will be more to this story?