Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Author: Gretchen McNeil 
Publication Date: September 18, 2012 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Pages: 294 
Genre: YA, Horror, Mystery Thriller, Suspense 
Source: Bought it 

Book Description from Goodreads:
And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine? 



     In a reimagining of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, McNeil puts a modern teenaged twist on a murder mystery classic. Told from the point of view of Meg, an aspiring writer about to graduate high school - she and her best friend Minnie do what any rational teenagers would do when they get invited to an exclusive party hosted by the most popular girl in school - they ditch their parents and brave a storm to party it up! When they get there they discover just how exclusive the party has become and things get ominous as these 10 teenagers are trapped and targeted in an end all revenge scheme.

     I love how simple but eerie the cover is. The lone island in an overcast sky nearing dark is the perfect setting for this book. Even the red font of the title "Ten" has a role to play in this story. 

   The characters of Meg and Minnie are all at once closely entwined and yet so far apart from each other. They've been best friends since they were kids. Meg was never the popular party kind of person, but she's always been the best friend that she could be to Minnie - sacrificing everything to make sure her friend is happy. Meg is also a great problem solver, and observer - which comes in handy when you're trapped on an island, but it takes her awhile to put two and two together and even then she's not the best at deducing the very obvious clues in front of her. 

     Minnie on the other hand is a blazing loose cannon who will defend you like a mother bear defending her cub, or she'll tear you apart herself if you've wronged her - she varies between the two in an instant. I really didn't like her. She was irritating, clingy and pretty much unable to function without someone as her crutch.
      Then there's the best friend drama with the boy toy that they both want and gosh was there a history behind T.J. and these two girls. But he seemed like an all around good guy, and kind of becomes the de-facto leader. There wasn't much depth to his character, or his problem solving abilities so I was more or less indifferent to his survival or his success in hooking up with a girl.
     The other characters were equally frustrating. They were so shallow and frivolous that I actually cheered the death of some of them. I felt like I didn't really get to know some of the more vague male characters, I actually had a hard time telling them apart because they were all so similar in their cavalier attitudes. Although I think McNeil might have intentionally created such irksome characters just so you'd feel relieved when they met their gruesome death. 

     I have a problem with murder mystery type stories. I both hate them and love them. I hate them because I have seen/read far too many police/forensic/law procedural type shows, and the twists start becoming repetitive and within the first few pages I know who the murderer is, and when the main point is revealed immediately I know the motive - I'm a terrible person to watch tv with because I vocalize all of this and end up ruining the show. But I love these types of stories when someone comes up with a truly unique situation that I can squirrel away in my box of random knowledge. Unfortunately, McNeil plays Ten out in quite a predictable manner, I had this whole thing down pat. 

     The who and why follow a pretty common formula of revenge (especially for teenagers you can guess what that is). The horror aspect of it has something very akin to The Ring (it even makes references to this too), especially with the movie warning they first watch. But I will admit McNeil does an awesome job building the suspense in the deaths and crafts extremely poetic and creative ways to kill - in a really morbid way this was my favorite part of the book! The back story itself was pretty creepy. It had lots of subtle nuances that were presented in the beginning of the story and seemed completely irrelevant but then it all links and weaves the characters together at the end into one big reveal.

Overall: 3/5 Drinkable Cups of Tea!
I didn't really care for the characters, and I was quite glad when they died. McNeil does do an incredible job weaving the imagery for the deaths. Overall I did enjoy it, and it's a very quick read at only 294 pages. For someone who loves to deduce and guess like crazy, the plot might seem a bit predictable. But for people who just want to sit back and watch a suspense filled murder spree you'll definitely love it!




  1. I was really looking forward to reading this, but seeing that the plot's predictable made me lose interest a little bit. I'm also not fond of characters of with little to zero depth.

    Great review!

    1. It's still an entertaining read, it's more of a "to-borrow" book, once you find out what's going on it's not likely you'd want to read it again.


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