Archive | March, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition

29 Mar

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). Which authors do I love, but don’t see people discussing? Who deserves more recognition?

Some of you might disagree with a few of my choices, but I’ve tried to pick authors who the average reader might be unfamiliar with, that I happen to love.

1. Sarra Manning:
Sarra Manning is like a British version of Sara Dessen, mixed with a dash of Stephanie Perkins. Her Diary of a Crush trilogy in particular is a must-read if you like contemporary YA romance, and hot English boys! I can’t believe more people don’t know who she is!
Diary-Of-A-Crush-French-Kiss

2. L.J. Smith:
Yes, we all know she wrote the Vampire Diaries series. But she also has quite a few other amazing trilogies under her belt. Her works (along with Christopher Pike) pretty much defined my pre-teen reading years back in the early 90’s. Two of my favorite all time series, written by her are The Forbidden Game, and The Secret Circle (which The CW has optioned as a pilot!).

3. Kelly Creagh:
Nevermore (Kelly’s debut!) is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. It’s long, descriptive, and dark. And features one of the most realistic portrayals of an unexpected high school romance I’ve ever read. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s amazing, and one of the most well-written YA books out there.
Nevermore

4. N. K. Jemisin:
Single handedly responsible for me reading adult fantasy novels once again. NK managed to create a unique world, with strong female protagonists in a genre that at times, feels like it’s survived on tropes and has been done to death. See The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to find out what I mean.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

5. Kim Gruenenfelder:
Author of hands down the most laugh out loud “chick lit” books I have ever read. A Total Waste of Makeup is another of my absolute favorites. Years after first reading it, I’m still cracking up over an especially eccentric character naming their pet elephant “Cinderellephant”.

6. Franny Billingsley:
My Chime review is still to come. But it’s safe to say based on that book alone, Franny is a new favorite. The fact that the book took her over a decade to perfect is evident on every single beautifully written page. Chime is my favorite 2011 read so far, which leaves me shocked that I haven’t heard more people talking about it.

7. Jandy Nelson:
Author of The Sky is Everywhere–a book that most bloggers seem to either love or hate. I’m waiting for the day when Sky breaks through the internet barrier and becomes a worldwide bestseller. I’m also anxiously awaiting the release of her second novel, The History of Luck.

8. Chloe Neill:
Not very widely known outside of die-hard urban fantasy circles, Chloe Neill has the potential to be the next Kim Harrison, and earn a place on the NY Times bestseller list. In the Chicagoland Vampires series, Neill manages to make tired subjects (vampires! werewolves! witches!) and settings (the big city) new again. She also writes one of the best ass-kicking heroines of any series I’ve ever read.

9. Richelle Mead:
Some of you might be wondering what the author of the Vampire Academy series is doing here. Most of my friends who read YA have heard of Richelle. But not all of them have read her adult works. They are in my opinion, even better than the VA series. Only Richelle could make a soul stealing succubus sympathetic. Check out her Georgina Kincaid and Dark Swan series, and prepare to be blown away.
Succubus Shadows

10. Honestly, I can’t pick a #10!

Who are your favorite, underrated authors?

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In my Mailbox #3

27 Mar

Most of the new releases I’ve pre-ordered come out next week, so I didn’t end up with very many new books for my third edition of IMM (hosted by The Story Siren). No video this time! Just a bit of text, and one very exciting photo:

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I’m getting an early glimpse at Wolfsbane (with the original, much prettier cover!) thanks to a fellow blogger’s ARC tour. I’ve only read a few pages so far, but I’m already anxious to find out what happens in book two with Calla, Shay, and Ren!

I also received Bumped by Megan McCafferty, via NetGalley.
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I’ve been a Megan McCafferty fan since way back when the first Jessica Darling book was released, so I’ve been looking forward to reading Bumped for quite some time. I’ve heard some mixed things, but good reviews are highly outnumbering the bad.

This week’s IMM might be short and sweet, but I’m glad to be able to read two very highly anticipated books from my TBR list!

Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

21 Mar

Die For Me: New US Cover

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again. –Via Amazon

Die for Me is what I like to call a smart girl’s paranormal love story. I’ve been fan-girling over this book since I first heard another author mention it on twitter last Fall. It was one of my 11 Must Reads for 2011. I am so so glad I finally got to read it, and that it has totally lived up to the hype!

Die For Me begins with Kate, who has just lost her parents in a terrible car accident, moving to Paris to live with her Grandparents. Kate is nearly drowning in her grief, and finding it hard to live a normal life again. Her older sister Georgia busies herself with parties and dancing to take her mind off of her parents’ death. But Kate hides indoors, behind the covers of her favorite books.

The real story begins when Kate finally decides to live again, and get out of her house. Time spent outside of the city helps bring Kate back to life, and inspires her to set out and explore Paris. After a near death experience, she meets Vincent, a mysterious Frenchman she has seen around her neighborhood, at a local cafe. What she doesn’t know, is that he’s been watching her. And that Vincent is not exactly human.

If you’ve read the book’s summary, you know that Vincent is a Revenant, a sort of French zombie. Luckily for us readers, that doesn’t involve him doing unromantic things like eating brains, or killing people. There is so much more to this story.

I’m not going to spoil what exactly Vincent is, or what his purpose is. But I will tell you a bit more about his relationship with Kate. Naturally, as she gets to know him, she senses something is a bit “off” about Vincent. She is drawn to the aura of danger that seems to surround him, but is smart enough to realize that might not be 100% wise.

Their relationship develops slowly and organically. Kate and Vincent start as friends, before blossoming into something more. I found that to be very refreshing. As the plot moves along, Kate and Vincent’s love is challenged in more ways than one.

Kate is well aware that life with Vincent will never be normal, and struggles with the impact his close ties with death and dying have on her emotional state. She also realizes that some of his behavior, like mild stalking, is abnormal. Luckily that stalking verges more towards being cute and inquisitive (please, we’ve all spied on hot boys or girls, whether it’s around town, or on Facebook), than creepy or abusive.

Miraculously, Kate actually has a mind of her own, and questions the people around her. She never sits back and lets things just happen to her. Once she breaks out of her depression, she actually lives her life.

Things I loved:

* A very well thought out, original mythology.

* Kate is a strong female main character. She stands up for herself, and refuses to take no for an answer.

* A good, logical, and totally un-creepy explanation for why an “old dead dude” would want to date a teenager.

*Jules, and Vincent’s entire paranormal “family”.

* Parts of the story were slow, but not bad slow. More like good, lingering slow… like the three hour French dinners described in the book. Sometimes everything being in your face gets old!

* The story made me want to run off to Paris asap. Amy (who lives in France) captures a sense of place incredibly well. You can tell she has actually been to, and loves Paris.

*Vincent: He’s a hot guy, with flaws. And he’s not afraid to admit them, or let Kate take the lead.

The only thing I didn’t like:

The average reader wouldn’t even notice, but since I read deleted scenes first, I thought the beginning chapter or two seemed a bit rushed. I’d HIGHLY recommend checking out the extras page on Amy’s site, and reading the deleted prologue, and the clip from Vincent’s point of view. I thought both added a lot to the story, helping to explain both Kate’s grief, and Vincent’s attraction to Kate quite a bit. (Note: both features can be read before or after Die For Me. If you’ve read the summary, they won’t spoil you.)

Die For Me is an intricately written, engrossing, and haunting story that transports you right into the center or Paris as if you were there. I think due to its deeper underlying themes (death, depression, loneliness), it will be taken more seriously than a lot of teen paranormal novels out in the world. And Amy’s Revenants are by far the coolest monster/paranormal creature I’ve encountered in years.

This novel offers a realistic look at depression after a tragedy like losing both of your parents. As well as featuring the most swoon-worthy, yet slightly “weird” romantic relationship I’ve read about in a long time. I am, of course, eagerly awaiting book two. I shall be adding Die For Me to my (very small) “to re-read pile”, something now that I’m a busy blogger, I rarely do.

4/5 STARS!

Learn more about Amy and the Revenants at her web site.

Die for Me is the first book in the Revenants trilogy, and will be released May 10th by Harper Teen.
E-galley provided for Review via Harper Teen and Net Galley.

2011 Teen Author Festival: Book Signing Event

21 Mar

teen author festival 2011 13

On Sunday, I attended the closing event of the 2011 NYC Teen Author Festival– A HUGE book signing at Books of Wonder! 45 authors were present, to sign their latest releases and chat with fans.

I made it to the second and third panels of the day. When I first arrived, things were pretty hectic. The line was long, and no one was quite sure where to go. But once the authors for panel #2 arrived, things ran incredibly smoothly.

I hopped in one of the longer lines, for Lisa McMann. After a few minutes of waiting, I got to meet her:
teen author festival 2011 12

Lisa is totally hilarious, and fun to talk to.
teen author festival 2011 11

A little side note about the photos: I’m not sure what is going on with my iphone’s camera. After a month, you’d think I’d know how to use it! I’ve stopped bringing my DSLR to book signings when there are multiple authors present, because honestly it’s just too damn heavy. I was carrying six books yesterday, so I just went with the hipstamatic app. Which usually looks beautiful. I guess it just decided it was too excited to shoot photos in focus this time. ; )

Next, I met Melina Marchetta:
teen author festival 2011 9
I’ve been meaning to read Jellicoe Road for ages (I’ve heard amazing things about it!), so I had my copy signed by Melina.

When I got back in line for the 3rd panel, I heard people buzzing about Ellen Hopkins being a surprise guest at the signing. Once I confirmed that she was indeed there, I ran back to the register and bought one of her books.
Ellen had another crazy long line, but was really nice, and more than happy to pose with fans:
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I’m sure this would look great, if it was in focus!

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Next up, was Kim Harrington. I read her debut, Clarity a few weeks ago right after its release. It’s a great combination of mystery, and just a little bit of the supernatural. Kim and I are twitter friends, so it was nice to finally meet her in person!

teen author festival 2011 7
We got to talk about glitter! Kim (and about 10 other people) complimented me on my teal glitter eye liner.

The last author I met was E. Lockhart. I haven’t read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks yet, but it’s another book I’ve heard amazing things about. So I was excited to have my copy signed.
teen author festival 2011 4
E. Lockhart and I.

The 4th panel of authors:
teen author festival 2011 3

I also got to hang out with some fellow book bloggers! Pam from Midnyte Reader, Maria from The Serpentine Library, and Bethany from Bookish Bethie were at the signing too.

All in all, I had an awesome time meeting some great authors, and bloggers. I’ll be adding the Teen Author Festival to my list of yearly NYC events to attend. I ended up going home with a huge pile of signed books too:

teen author festival 2011

Review Teaser: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

17 Mar

Blood Red Road

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Since it won’t be released until June, I’m going to hold off posting a more in-depth review of this book for another month or so. I’ve decided to do a smaller, teaser review first. The story was really just too good not to start hyping this book now!

Blood Red Roadis the most unique dystopian novel I’ve ever read. The story centers around Saba, an 18-year-old girl who embarks on an epic journey to rescue her twin brother Lugh after he’s kidnapped by mysterious horseman.
Written in a bare bones style, in Saba’s own dialect (Saba cannot read or write), the book manages to convey more intense emotion with its sparsely written prose than books with five times as many words.

Unlike so many recently published YA dystopian novels, in Blood Red Road, the dangers faced are real. Step out of line in this world, and you won’t be forced into an arranged marriage, or have the government remove your ability to feel love. You will starve, die of thirst, be imprisoned and forced into slavery, or drugged so heavily you barely remember your own name.

Real, world changing consequences result from actions and bad decisions. Loved ones are murdered, characters are beaten and abused, and life as it was previously known ends. Yet there is also a bright, uplifting side to the book.
Even when Saba has lost nearly everything near and dear to her heart, she still finds hope, and the ability to carry on living.

At its core, Blood Red Road is a fast paced story about love, loss, and friendship in a world where just staying alive seems nearly impossible. The story mixes the best elements of Mad Max, The Hunger Games, Gladiator, and Clint Eastwood westerns. Blood Red Road is the first in a trilogy, and film rights have been optioned by Ridley Scott. I’m already dying to read the next book, and can’t wait until this series becomes a movie.

Disclosure: I received a review copy via Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

16 Mar

Starcrossed

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart. -Via Goodreads.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini is a book that has been met with some controversy in the blogging world. I’m not sure if some people hate to see others succeed and get book deals they could only dream of, or they just need a break from reading the genre. But blogger reviews comparing Starcrossed to Twilight (in a bad way) have been running rampant. After reading, I can safely say other than a few minute plot points that, lets be honest half the paranormal genre probably now shares, Starcrossed is nothing like Twilight. It’s so much better.

When I first started reading Starcrossed, I immediately wondered if I’d be finishing it. In the first few chapters, Helen Hamilton (nicknamed Lennie) is absolutely one of the most annoying main characters I’ve ever read. She has near crippling social anxiety, is whiny to an extreme, and is just beyond annoying. Before you say “no way” to reading this book, let me explain: I’m unsure whether or not other bloggers complaining about this book actually finished. Because as annoying as Helen was in the beginning,she quickly grows out of it. Right around the time she meets and tries to kill Lucas, the love interest. And by the middle of the book, once she learns more about her past, her behavior is completely explained! Angelini is a much smarter author than many are giving her credit for.

I’m not going to pretend this book was flawless. But it seriously surprised me, and left me anxiously awaiting the sequel. As I said above, a few chapters in, Helen tries to kill the love interest, Lucas Delos. Every time Helen is near a member of the Delos family, she flies into an uncontrollable rage and sees three creepy, crying women. When she first meets Lucas, she ends up trying to strangle him in front of their entire school! I thought that was a hilarious, and absolutely awesome twist. And so refreshing in a genre full of “insta-love”. Even after Helen and Lucas stop trying to kill each other, they aren’t immediately a couple. They hang out quite a bit, learning about their “abilities”, and actually get to know each other. They have fights, and quite a few times, Helen questions whether Lucas should be cut out of her life. All while discovering the truth about her origins, and what lies in her future.

I’m not going to spoil the rest of the book, beyond what you can read in the summary. But I will say Helen kicks some ass. Conflicts arise, a villain appears, secrets are revealed, prophecies are made, and people die. And it all made for one awesome story.

Loved:

*The main character wasn’t a powerless human falling in love with a supernatural being. SHE was a supernatural being herself.

*A more realistic romance than most YA paranormals.

*The mythology. No, it’s not 100% historically accurate, but honestly that would be boring!

*The Delos family. Each character was unique and actually added to the story.

*The island setting. I really got a feel for life in Nantucket.

*Helen’s human friends. They weren’t just filler background characters. And by the second half of the book, her best friend Claire is hilarious!

*What’s at stake: If Helen and Lucas fall in love, their relationship risks more than her soul/her safety/having to explain weird supernatural crap to her family. The world may actually END if they “get it on”.

*Plenty of twists. I figured out early on who the villain was, but still remained surprised by the twists and turns at the end of the book.

*Many questions were answered. But of course, a few new ones arise for you to ponder until book two comes out.

Didn’t Love:

*Helen in the first few chapters. I wanted to strangle her.

*Weird shifts in perspective. The book is written in third person, but focuses on Helen. So I was confused when randomly, the perspective shifted to Lucas for a few paragraphs at the start of a chapter. And then later, to another character. I felt like that kind of change should have been established a bit earlier in the book.

Overall, I’d give Starcrossed 4/5 stars. It was a refreshingly unique YA Paranormal story, with great supporting characters, interesting mythology, and plenty of action. I want to read the sequel immediately. The only thing keeping me from re-reading this book right now is the scary number of books on my TBR pile.

Starcrossed, the first book in a trilogy, will be released by Harper Teen on May 31, 2011.

Book received for review via Harper Teen at Net Galley

Double Signing Day: Patrick Rothfuss and the NYC Teen Author Festival

16 Mar

Patrick Rothfuss Signing 2NYC Teen Author Festival 2

Last night, I succeeded in doing the impossible: I made it to two book signings, in two different nyc boroughs at the exact same time. Obviously I don’t have a clone, so it wasn’t literally at the same time. But thanks to one event starting early, I ended my night with six books signed by some of my favorite authors.

My evening started with Patrick Rothfuss at Barnes and Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Fans were allowed to line up at 4pm for the 7pm signing. So by the time I arrived at 5, there were already about 70 people in line! The store was way too small for a signing of this size. I ended up having to wait outside in the cold for about an hour because there wasn’t any standing room left in the store.

A signing table for Patrick was set up in the magazine section. Space was so limited, and the crowd so large, that Pat’s reading and Q&A was cancelled. Someone failed event planning 101, but I didn’t let that ruin my night. Which was good, because despite the weather outside, I ended up meeting some awesome fellow book lovers in line!

Around 6pm, the guy behind me pointed across the street. “Look” he said, “there’s Patrick!”. I looked up, and there he was, getting out of a cab. He’s pretty hard to miss. I couldn’t resist snapping a “spy photo” with my iPhone:
Patrick Rothfuss Signing 1

After chatting with a friend, Pat noticed us, and started waving and taking photos of the crowd. He stopped to grab some dinner, but came back over around 6:30 to chat with some fans, and tell us he was going to start signing early. I waited for what seemed like forever, chatting with my new friends as the line slowly snaked into the store, and around the magazine section. We joked about cliches in fiction, and our favorite nerdy movies.

Finally, it was my turn. I panicked, and ran to Pat’s assistant with my camera. When I approached Pat, my mind went blank and I forgot everything I’d wanted to say. Which is hilarious, because as a photographer, I come into contact with celebrities all the time. And I can chat with them like they’re my best friend. In front of authors I like–I’m speechless. Pat signed my books, and I finally mumbled something about being so glad he finally made it to NYC after waiting for four years. And then we took this photo together:

Patrick Rothfuss Signing 3
At the time, I didn’t even realize what he’d done. Looking at it now, I think it pretty much sums up Pat’s goofy personality.

Patrick Rothfuss Signing 4

I said good bye to my new friends, and hauled ass to Manhattan for the Teen Author Panel at another Barnes and Noble, in Union Square. I made it just in time to hear the last few minutes of a reading, before the signing began.
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NYC Teen Author Festival 1

Everyone was SO NICE. Seriously, it was like David Levithan pulled the nicest authors in YA aside and said he wanted to have a panel celebrating friendliness.
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The panel of authors. My iPhone decided to partially blur their identities. ; )

David signed my books first, and I told him how I’d rushed there from another signing, and was crazy excited for Sunday’s mega-signing event. I got to chat with Gayle Forman about If I Stay (I bought it when it first came out, but haven’t read it yet! Yet my mother has. Go figure.) and whether or not Where She Went spoiled me. She was sad to hear the description did, but I told her it was ok.

Hands down the best conversation I had was with Holly Black. I remove all my book covers when I carry them around, so that they aren’t damaged. So when I approached her, she saw the book in my hands, and asked what it was because she didn’t recognize it. I told her it was Red Glove, and she freaked out! (She hadn’t seen it without a cover on yet.) I told her how I found it at Strand last week, thanks to someone selling back a review copy. I was so excited I forgot to tell her how much I loved it, and that the Curse Worker books have become one of my new favorite series. She seemed really happy to see it, and said I had the very first copy she’s signed! She even drew me a cute little cat “speaking” what she’d said:

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Red Glove is now officially the coolest signed book I own.

I’m so glad I made it in time to attend the first event of the 2011 Teen Author Festival! I never thought I’d be able to make it to two events in one night, and see so many authors I love. Thanks to all the authors for being so awesome!

If you have a chance to check out any of the other Teen Author Fest events, go! You can find the full list here.

My other signed books:
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NYC Teen Author Festival 8

Patrick Rothfuss Signing 5
I got my copy of The Name of the Wind signed too, but it pretty much looks exactly like this one.

In My Mailbox #2

13 Mar

After watching videos by some fellow bloggers, I decided to film my second “In my Mailbox” video. The results are pretty embarrassing. Watch me say how “excited” I am about 45 times in a row! Next time, I’m definitely going to do a test run. But I got some amazing books over the last month and a half, and I really am genuinely “excited” to read them. On the list: some of my most anticipated books of 2011, sequels I’ve been dying for, and some insane early releases I purchased at Strand:

Review: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

1 Mar

Cryer's Cross

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
–Via Goodreads

Cryer’s Cross is my first Lisa McMann book. I’ve heard good things about her Wake series, and had it on my TBR list for quite a long time, so I was excited when I started hearing buzz about her new stand alone novel.

I have to admit, when I first started reading Cryer’s Cross, I almost immediately stopped. The book is written in a very intense third person, stream of consciousness style. But once I read on through a few more pages, I realized it perfectly complimented the way main character Kendall Fletcher, who suffers from OCD, thinks. Similar to the effect music with pounding bass has on your body, the writing style definitely makes your heart pound faster, and in my opinion, made me read faster! It definitely takes some getting used to, but once I hit my reading stride, I barely noticed.

In the beginning of Cryer’s Cross, Kendall’s world is turned upside down when fellow student Tiffany disappears without a trace from her small town. Kendall is again pushed nearly over the edge when a month or so later, her boyfriend and neighbor Nico also disappears. The chaos left in the wake of both disappearances soon catches up with Kendall, and she begins hearing voices, especially when nearby a certain desk in her classroom. A desk that doesn’t stay where it belongs, in her perfectly OCD organized rows. New student Jacian, who was investigated after TIffany disappeared, slowly transforms from Kendall’s foe and soccer team rival, into a new friend, and one of the few people who believes she isn’t losing it.

It’s hard to say much more without spoiling the mystery, but I’ll say the set up is flawless, and (yay stand alones!) all loose ends are tied up by the end of the novel. Some reviewers have mentioned problems with the seemingly unexplained paranormal aspect of the novel, but if you can manage to suspend disbelief while reading, the story seems realistic enough to happen in any small town in America.

McMann has perfectly captured the life of an emotionally fragile teenager with OCD, and the idiosyncrasies of life in a very small town. The secondary characters are believable, and three-dimensional, even when only appearing on the page for short spans of time. Cryer’s Cross is a haunting and creepy mystery, sharing that eerie atmospheric horror story feeling reminiscent of the best of Stephen King. I stayed up all night reading this book, and finished it in about four hours. By the end, I was definitely freaking out and feeling nervous about being the only person awake in my apartment at 3:30am.

4/5 stars.

Disclosure: I received a review e-galley of Cryer’s Cross via Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.