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)
The premise is creepy and fascinating, and I was really looking forward to picking up the book. There are a lot of things I like about the story, but in many ways it fails to deliver.
The thing that drew me to the story was the mystery/horror side of the plot. What was up with the missing teenagers and creepy desk messages? Overall, I ended up being disappointed in how that part of the plot developed. Not enough to keep me from enjoying the story, but definitely enough to keep me from loving it.
As for the characters…we never really go beyond the surface here. I never felt like I was getting to personally know Kendall. This was not a character-driven story and that is a major strike against it.
However, something about it kept me turning the pages. I loved the developing romance and the setting…and even though I was ultimately let down by the mystery, it was intriguing enough to make me want to know how things would turn out. One thing I hated was the whole “We” messages thing. Really? That was more ridiculous than anything else. Not at all a fan. The book could have definitely done without all that mess.
So – as you can see I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I definitely don’t feel like I wasted time by reading it, but it isn’t a story I will ever be revisiting. If you’re a fan of the budding YA horror genre, I would recommend picking up a copy at the library!