Review: “Ten” by Gretchen McNeil

Title: “Ten”

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Genre: YA, Retelling, Mystery

Publication Date: September 18, 2012 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: 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?

☆: 3.5/5 stars – a fun end-of-summer book that will chill your blood!

Review: I’ll admit, I’m not familiar with the source material, “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie – shame on me for that, I know, but now I kind of want to go read it. While was this was definitely a great, fast-paced read that gets your heart pounding, there were a few areas in which for me, it fell flat. Still, I think a lot of people in YA are going to love this retelling, and I think “Ten” makes for a great end-of-summer read.

What I loved: the setting. Utterly creepy and beautiful, setting this off of the coast of the Pacific Northwest was a great choice. McNeil does a fantastic job of setting up a horror-movie feel to the book with absolutely gorgeous sensory language and imagery (which wavers a bit when the action gets going – but only very slightly). I also loved the fact that McNeil spared us nothing when she killed off her darlings one by one, and did it with gusto. I love an author who’s never afraid to do that, and McNeil does it splendidly.

McNeil does the relationship-web way of worldbuilding when it comes to her characters and world very, very well. While she ties it all together toward the end of the book, while I did see parts of it coming, at the same time, there were parts of that web that totally surprised me, and characters that tied to each other in ways I hadn’t really thought of. And with the goosebump-raising world she’s created, the characters all tie back into it pretty well.

What I wasn’t really into: the way the relationship web moved when it comes to our heroine, Meg. Her and TJ didn’t feel like a real relationship – it wasn’t insta-love, and yes, the horror environment brings people together in relationships like that, but at the same time, it just didn’t quite feel real. I feel like the pacing in that relationship was more than a bit too fast, and I wanted to slow it down, despite their previous history together pre-Henry Island. Also, the DVD everyone watched at the start? Meh. I was a bit underwhelmed with it, but when the killings started, it got my attention. While I can’t say how I would have done it better, at the same time, it just didn’t really work for me.

There were parts of this book where the pacing did feel a bit off (too fast in some places), but otherwise, I devoured it in one sitting. ONE. I rarely do that, and this one was just a really fun thrill ride for me. While I wasn’t into all of the characters (and wanted to punch more than a few in the face), I did like the action and tension that came with them.

Final verdict? It seems like a lot of early reviewers are split on this one, and I can easily see why. If you liked Agatha Christie’s original, you may want to read this to see how it’s been retold. However, I suggest it for the horror movie lovers out there that want a good scare. “Ten” is out from HarperTeen September 18, 2012 in North America, so be sure to check it out then! If anything, it’s a great end-of-summer read that will have you more in the mood for fall.


3 thoughts on “Review: “Ten” by Gretchen McNeil

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! | birth of a new witch.

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  3. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves: Week 18 | birth of a new witch.

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