Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

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?
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie, so my perceptions of this book are a little biased.  That being said, I still really enjoyed this book.  One thing I believe, if you’re going to do a retelling of another novel, is that you had better do something different to make it worth being retold, which Gretchen McNiel accomplishes.  Instead of a variety of backgrounds and professions with the characters of the original, most of the characters in this version were teenagers that were wealthy and/or popular that are gathered from the three local high schools, seemingly unrelated.  Apart from them being picked off by an unknown killer one by one, the similarities end -- but in a good way.

I found the book wildly entertaining mostly due to the differences from the original.  However, there were a few moments where I was taken aback and had a general “huh?” moment.  For example, if I was just exposed to a dead body (be it from suicide/murder/or normal circumstances like at a funeral), I don’t want to make out with anybody.  Period.  And I get it that teenagers have hormones, but I still think it was a little outside the bounds of realistic behavior.  So I found that a little odd, but I didn’t let it keep me from enjoying the book.  It was just a little distracting and I thought it could’ve done without.

Ten was insta-love free!  The main couple actually had a back story and met way before the book starts, which was different and worth noting, especially since young adult is a genre where insta-love runs rampant.  However, I didn’t particularly like either of these characters, as I found T.J. unrealistically perfect and Meg… well I can’t pinpoint what I didn’t like, I just know I wasn’t falling over myself for her.  She was amusing though, full of quips like:
“Nothing like reading over your own diary entry and realizing how pathetic it sounded.”
-Ten, pg. 115
I thought the ways the author tied in high school drama into the classic was interesting.  The story was still kept me wanting more, even though I didn’t really like the characters.  I would recommend it to open-minded fans of Agatha Christie as well as anyone who enjoys young adult mysteries.  Minor spoiler: the part I was most upset about was that not everybody died.  :P

Final Thought: 3 1/2 out of 5 toadstools
This review is also on GoodReads


  1. Great review! I'm hoping to read this soon, I've heard a lot of good things.

  2. I'm not much of a mystery reader, though I bet I would like them if I made time to read them. That is a really funny quip--gotta love strong voice in a YA novel. :)