Saturday 12 November 2011

Review: The Missing by Lisa McMann

The MissingThe Missing by Lisa McMann

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

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.

First off- It's a stand alone book and not part of a series *Hooray!*, and also, for being quite a short novel (only 230 pages) it crams a lot in and is compulsively addictive. Part slow-building romance, part haunting mystery story, it quickly becomes spookily eerie and full of tension and suspense. All the way through this I had absolutely no clue what to expect and zero theories and suspicions as to what could have happened to the missing students- which made me even more desperate to find out and keep reading to the nerve-shredding finale!

Like Lisa McMann's other series the writing in this is a very detached style, with very stilted sentences- but again it works because it suits Kendall's personality. Kendall suffers with OCD, which makes her obsessive about order, routine and counting. The ordered, detached style seems to mirror Kendall's sense of isolation as she struggles to cope with everyday situations and her mind can't switch off focusing on the little details- but this also means that she notices things that other people don't.

The characters in this book is one of the best things about it. The story is set in a very small and close-knit town and there are actually very few characters, but despite this they are all relatable and believable. Kendall herself is a fascinating character- sweet and intelligent but also feisty- she is on the school soccer team and easily fits into her school group despite being the only girl in their year at the tiny local school she attends. The little anecdotes really give the sense that her class have all grown up together and know each other so well. The new guy Jacian (pronounced "Hass-ee-an") is understandably moody and miserable after being uprooted away from his friends into this tiny farming town with no prospects for the sports teams, but he develops into a really caring and understanding person as he are Kendall are increasingly thrown together.

I also really felt for Kendall and her despair when her best friend becomes one of the missing. She takes it so hard and I couldn't help but feel really emotional over the hole in her life. It was also that sense of his loss hanging over her- the not knowing what had happened and if he was ever coming back, making her feel unable to move on and make any plans for the future and college. She clings on to his memory and the hope that he is going to come back again. It is when Kendall thinks that Nico is trying to send her a message that things really start to get strange, making Kendall wonder if she is starting to lose her mind.

I really enjoyed this book, which was emotional and eerie, planting a mystery that left me desperate to know the answers to- and had a creepy building tension mixed with a slow-building new romance, which was very sweet and heartfelt.

  • This was published under the title Cryer's Cross in the US and other parts of the world.


  1. I've got this lying around somewhere, good to know you enjoyed it.

  2. A lovely review, well done Sally! Do you have any good quotations from the book?


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