Author: Lisa McMann
Publication: Simon Pulse (February 8, 2011)
Description: 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.
When a second student goes missing—someone close to Kendall’s heart—the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school—messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there—Kendall 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 Cross—and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.
My Thoughts: This was an entertaining and engaging mystery that edged into the horror category. It was nicely creepy in a middle grade/young adult way. I felt a few chills run up and down my spine as I was reading it.
Kendall has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). She thrives on routine and is upset when her routine is disrupted. She knows when she is being OCD and is coping really well. Her best friend is Nico. They live on neighboring farms and have been best friends since they were born. They are two of the six students in their class at their one-room high school. He loves her in a boyfriend-girlfriend sort of way. While she loves him, it is not romantic for her. She doesn't know if it is because of her OCD or just because of them.
Kendall's routine is upset when Tiffany disappears. She is one of the ninth grade students at their school. Even after a massive search, no trace of her can be found. This happens at the end of Kendall's junior year and she has the whole summer to think about Tiffany's disappearance as she drives a tractor on her parents farm. She comes up with all sorts of scenarios - some more likely than others. But the new school year starts with no new information about Tiffany.
The new school year does bring two new students to their school of 24 students. Jacian and Marlena begin school in the Fall. Jacian is a senior like she is and Marlena is a sophomore. Jacian is a difficult person to get to know. He is quiet, sullen, and angry. He hates that he has been forced to leave his large school in Arizona where he was a soccer star and the target of college scouts to come to tiny Cryer's Cross to help out his grandfather. Marlena is a more open and cheerful person and quickly becomes Kendall's friend. One of the ways Kendall combats her OCD is by playing soccer. But the school is small and only 8 students are out for the team.
Then Nico starts to get moody and distracted. He disappears on a day that he and Kendall are supposed to go to Bozeman to check out a college. Again a massive search is organized but no trace of him is found. Kendall's world is rocked again. It is further rocked when Marlena breaks her leg in a four-wheel accident and the soccer team reduces to only 6 players.
Kendall and Jacian start to get close after Nico disappears but Kendall is torn between her old loyalty to her best friend and this new attraction. This does feel romantic and much different than her relationship with Nico.
She is also the only one who notices that Nico and Tiffany had both used the same old surplus desk before they disappeared. Kendall has memorized all the graffiti on the desks but new words seem to be appearing on that desk. When Kendall sits at the desk, she hears voices. Is it her OCD or is Nico really trying to tell her something?
I recommend this book to readers who are looking for a book that is scary with an attractive and sympathetic main character. It was great!
All she can do is wearily count steps, and rows, and trees, repeating crazy sentences in her mind as she scans the vegetables and grain, and then goes on to the grassy fields and woods. Looking for the body of her best friend. Torn between hoping she finds it and hoping she doesn't.