Monday, April 22, 2013

REVIEW: TEN by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, Horror
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My star rating: 3/5


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?


I have mixed feelings about this book. I was looking forward to reading Ten as it has a phenomenal cover and intriguing premise. I love mysteries and thrillers, but I’m sad to say that this was a disappointing read for me. Apparently it’s based on one of Agatha Christie’s novels, but I haven’t read any of her books yet, so I can’t compare the two.

There were a lot of things that bothered me about the plot, but my biggest complaint is the silly and unnecessary romance in this story. It would’ve functioned well without two of the characters trying to rekindle their lost love.  Meg’s constant inner-thoughts about T.J., her fantasizing about him kissing her, and all the what-ifs she was constantly contemplating, had me glossing over some of the pages. I don’t really mind romance in books. Honestly, I don’t. But I do expect authors who work romance into their stories to give me something new. Something so different it makes me fall in love with their character(s), or at the very least something that would take my breath away (like in Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry). In this story, Meg is a bland, irritatingly sappy character. I mean, she discovers a body, goes into a panic for about two paragraphs about there being a murderer on the loose, but then, for the next ten pages, switches to daydreaming about T.J. Can you blame me for thinking “what the heck?” The romance was obviously used as story filler since it added nothing to the plot.

Don’t even get me started on T.J. Heaven knows I’ve never come across a more na├»ve, oblivious character than him. The rest of the characters aren’t even worth mentioning. The author didn’t even bother to establish that connection between the reader and the rest of the characters, as they get murdered faster than the speed of light. The plot itself is pretty standard. Nothing new is added to the story that I haven’t seen in a typical murder mystery movie before. The ending? Meh. I can assure you it’s nothing you haven’t already seen in countless low-budget thriller movies. Oh, and the journal found by Meg which is supposedly from a seventeen-year-old suicide victim, reads like an adolescent’s diary. No wonder she was shunned by the other high school kids.

So those were some of the things I didn’t enjoy about the book. There were also a few things I did enjoy and which motivated me to finish the book. Like I said, the ending wasn’t anything spectacular, but the suspense and build-up to the “who-dunnit” was quite nerve-wracking. Halfway into the story I’ve suspected just about every character who was still alive at that point. I know of many readers who didn’t like Minnie’s character because of her erratic behavior, but I think the author did great to throw such a character into the mix. Despite my complaints about the things I didn’t enjoy, I think that Ten is a good read, just not a great read. Apart from the drawn out syrupy romance, the plot itself moved quite fast. The gore is kept to a minimum which makes this a suitable read for younger readers and sensitive readers alike. I’ll definitely read more of this author’s books.



Ten by Gretchen McNeil has 671 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.


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Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN - YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer - was released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59 - sci fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places - is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray.


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