Review: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

cryers cross

 

This is the first book for my pop culture homework assignment! And it was so good! Okay, but before I start gushing about how much I like the book, let me tell you about it.

 

The small town (population: 212) Cryer’s Cross is  in the grip of a tragedy. Tiffany Quinn, a sophomore in high school, has disappeared. They search for her but do not find her. The school year ends, the season turns and then the following Fall another student also goes missing. The town once again comes together to search for a missing student. What is going on and why was Nico, the second missing student, distant and forgetful in the days leading up to his disappearance? The story is told from the perspective of Kendall Fletcher, high school student and best friend of Nico. To add to the mystery, the school has two new students, Marlena and Jacian Obrian, who have moved to Cryer’s Cross with their parents to help their grandfather with his farm. The cops interrogated Jacian about Tiffany’s death. Is Jacian involved in the missing persons case or is he just a grumpy high schooler who is pissed that he had to move before his senior year to the middle of nowhere? (Also, maybe the townsfolk just a little bit racist?)

 

Okay, now to gush about this book. I love Kendall. She is amazing. Much of the plot is driven forward by Kendall’s obsessive-compulsive disorder. I liked that she was portrayed as a whole person and just as a disorder. I also liked that this wasn’t a story about OCD. I also loved Jacian and Marlena. They are amazing characters. Beth and I were discussing it, and Jacian is definitely book boyfriend material.

I enjoyed this book and if you like paranormal horror/mystery, you should try it.

Okay, now for a bit of a spoiler.

Continue reading

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What I’m Listening to Now: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

cryers cross

I’ve started my pop culture homework assignment! So far, this book is creeping me out.

 

You can check out my progress through this book on our facebook story! Follow us on facebook for that bonus content!

 

Pop Culture Assignment for Kate: Horror and Suspense

I had a hard time coming up with an assignment for Kate. My originally thought about assigning her first books in four different series but I had a trouble narrowing it down and  most of them are series that she would totally have read if she hadn’t been so busy the last couple of years working on PhD.  Which kinda defeats the purpose since the assignments are supposed to be of books that we normally wouldn’t read on our own.  So I decided on four different standalone horror and suspense novels.  All four of these books I enjoyed for different reasons.  I think it’s good to have a scare every now and then but also like how genre can comment on social issues without being in your face about it but also to an audience that normally wouldn’t seek out such material on their own.  So I’m excited to see how she like them.

cryers cross Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

I’m starting off Kate with Cryer’s Cross.  I would say is kinda of a ghost story.  Kendall loves her small town in Montana but she has dreams of going to school in New York. When tragedy strikes and her friends start to go missing, she teams up with the new boy to solve the mystery.  Race, mental disorders and small town secrets all come into play in this well written mystery.

coldestgirl The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Holly Black is a master story teller and this is in my opinion one of her best books.  She takes the vampire genre to a new level with this one.  I have to say it’s right up there with Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  Cities have been walled up to quarantine off vampires from the regular populations.  Tana wakes up the day after a party to find herself the only survivor of a vampire attack with the vampire and her ex-boyfriend both tied up.  She must make the decision to take them to a Coldtown.  Depression and the search for fame are also examined as they make their journey.

the waking dark The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

They called it the Killing Day when regular citizens go on a killing spree out of nowhere in a small town in Kansas.  Five teenagers from different parts of town are thrown together as they try to survive the night and the mysterious virus goes through the town.  Social classes, privilege, abuse all play apart of the narrative as they figure out what’s going on and how they can escape it.

scowler Scowler by Daniel Kraus

I changed my final book.  I originally was going to have Kate read another Holly Black novel but it didn’t really fit the whole horror theme.  This one kinda gave me nightmares.  So good Luck, Kate.  Ry and his mother and sister are trying to save their Iowa farm when a meteorite hits nearby and their past comes back to haunt them.  Their abusive father is on the loose and Ry must rely on his old imaginary friends to helped him survive his father before.  Can they do it again?

I hope Kate and everyone who chooses to read along will enjoy their Summer of Horror and Suspense.

 

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is the story of Cath, a first year college student who is super awkward, in love with characters in a teen series, and a writer of fan fiction. She moves into her dorm room with her new roommate (after her twin sister tells her she doesn’t want to room with her) and then proceeds to try and make it as far as she can without interacting with anyone. Her roommate, Reagan, and her roommate’s friend (boyfriend? friend? boyfriend?) Levi force her to interact with them. Levi forces the issue by snooping through Cath’s stuff and eating most of her supply of protein bars (forcing her to ask where the cafeteria is) and Reagan forces the issue by making Cath eat with her in the cafeteria. They slowly become friends. Cath and Levi realize that they have feelings for each other and the story spirals from there. Additionally, there are story arcs that involve both of Cath’s parents. Cath’s father has raised her and her sister from when they were very young and now her mother would like to have some involvement. Cath’s father also has bipolar disorder. Cath’s interactions with her parents were beautiful and at times heartbreaking.

I love Cath. I love her so much.

This book has beginning of school drama. It has tension between sisters (ugh, her sister drove me crazy!). There is romance. There is friendship. There is at least one douche canoe of a bro tryna take advantage of a young woman. There’s some really satisfying comeuppance for said douche canoe of a bro. There’s an awesome professor who gets it…but also doesn’t get it. And, there’s the fan fiction. Oh, the fan fiction. I finished this book in two days and I read it on my phone because I couldn’t get enough of it. I read it in every spare minute that I had. This was by far my favorite of the books that Beth assigned me this summer. I cannot wait for Carry On!, Cath’s fan fiction, to be published this Fall!

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I am halfway through my Pop Culture Homework Assignment!

This book repeatedly punched me in the stomach.

Eleanor and Park meet when Eleanor gets on the bus for her first day at the new school.  Eleanor immediately gets on the wrong side of the cool kids on the bus by almost sitting in someone else’s spot.  Park growls at her to just sit down next to him.  Everything after that awkward and totally real meeting is beautiful and painful and awkward and wonderful.  Eleanor and Park are so fucking cute together I actually just swore at you in a review of a YA novel.  This was a beautiful, painful and real novel about teen romance. It was also a novel about negotiating identity (when you’re not really sure how to be what people think you are.  Are you that thing?  Are you not?  Does it matter?), being there for your loved ones, and dealing with crappy things in your life.
This book was great also great because of the main characters.  Eleanor is a chubby red head and Park is half Korean.  Others have talked about the need for diverse characters in teen novels and I think this is a good example.
Spoiler alert and trigger alert:  This book deals with domestic violence in a very honest and very real way.
More spoilers ahead.
Eleanor and Park’s relationship grows slowly over a few months.  At first, they are just sharing a seat on the bus.  Then, they are sharing comic books.  Then, they were sharing comic books and music.  (I’m actually making a mix tape inspired by the music mentioned in the book.)  It just snowballs from there.  Eleanor loves her time on the bus because she hates being at home with her Mother’s husband, who is an alcoholic and a wife beater.  The story builds until it becomes obvious that the creepiest of the awful things that have been happening to Eleanor aren’t being done by the awful girls in Eleanor’s gym class but are being done by Eleanor’s step dad.
I cried and cried and cried throughout this book.  The relationship between Eleanor and Park was wonderful.  Eleanor’s relationship with DeNice and Beebi was great.  Park’s parents were A+ and their attempts to interact with their son’s first real girlfriend were awkward and beautiful and also very real.  Sabrina, Eleanor’s mom, was heartbreaking.  (At one point she tells Eleanor she’s so lucky and good for staying away from boys and then implies that there are two types of women in the world:  women who are with a man and brave women who aren’t.  I think my heart is still breaking from that interaction between mother and daughter.)  Eleanor’s brothers and sisters were also heartbreaking.
God, this book.  It was so good.  It was so good, I’m still crying over it.

I got to meet Rainbow Rowell 

In a perfect set of coincidences, I am visiting my parents in Cedar Rapids, IA. Rainbow Rowell is speaking in Cedar Rapids, IA. Oh and the library’s ebook of Attachments became available. So, I read the first three chapters before heading out.  To start, I wasn’t sure if she would read or give a talk or answer questions.  Rowell did mostly questions and answers and she started by answering a question that she gets a lot: how did you become a novelist.

I knew immediately that I was going to like her because she had on a dress with trees on it (I found out at the signing it was from eShakti) and a large cat face necklace. Normally, I am loath to be the kind of person who judges people by what they’re wearing but plus-size women who have cultivated a sense of style (especially ones that are my age or older and remember a time when all plus-size clothing was hideous) are always cool even if I don’t like them.

Rainbow Rowell chatting with the room


So, Rowell started out by telling us about her life before her books were published as a journalist who for awhile had a gig covering Western Iowa for an Omaha paper. It was great to hear her tales of the hijinx that we get up to in the middle of the nation. (We had a Pork Queen who was a vegetarian.  If that’s not funny to you, you’re either not from here or you’re not from here and you guessed wrong as to what a Pork Queen is.)

Then she took questions from the audience. She gave advice to young authors. She talked about her favorite fandoms (Sherlock). She talked her X- men-Mary Sue-self-insert fan fic she wrote as a teen.  I laughed so much I was so excited to continue reading Attachments.

After Rowell’s talk she signed books. There was a long line and it was great that she signed so many books. I don’t usually fangirl (especially not over an author whose books I’ve not finished) but I stood in that really long line to tell her how much I enjoyed her talk, get my book signed and to get my picture taken.
Yup, I’m that kind of nerd.

Rainbow Rowell and Kate being a total Fangirl.