Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on October 15, 2012 | 4 Comments

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeilTen by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer + Bray (9.18.2012)
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 294 pages
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

3 Stars

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?

My thoughts

Hmm. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this one, so let me start with the bad (as per usual for me).
The beginning dragged. A lot. There was waaaay too much teen angst and relationship drama for my tastes (I KNOW, it’s young adult. I know. But this was juvenile even for YA), which brought the story down quite a bit – for me, at least. It read too much like a typical and cliche horror movie: A bunch of teens take a trip together; it even had the typical roles, including the slut, the asshole, the bitch, the black guy, and the shy one. 
I couldn’t stand two of the main characters, which is another thing that ruined my enjoyment of the book. Minnie was the major one for me. It’s rather sad when you read a book and actually hope for a character to die. She was a skank and a total bitch, not to mention an extremely horrendous friend. She was supposed to be bipolar, which I suppose would excuse her from some of it…but I didn’t feel as if it was portrayed very well.
She complained adamantly about Meg going off to college and guilt tripped her for ‘leaving her behind’….sorry but shouldn’t you want your friend to be happy and do what she wants to do? And be successful in life? She claimed to be ‘in love’ with TJ, yet as soon as she got on the island and laid eyes on the first hottie in sight (that she doesn’t even know), she disappeared with him to do unspeakable things. Then got jealous because Meg was spending time with TJ. WTF? She went all psycho when she thought the two were going to the Homecoming dance together…obviously she’s not that great of a friend if she can’t tell that Meg had feelings for TJ.

Which brings me to Meg. While Minnie was bitchy about Meg and TJ, some of the blame was on Meg as well. She was a spineless, vapid doormat of a character and I wanted to punch her in the face. She wouldn’t speak up about ANYTHING, and I like a lead that can stand up for what she believes in. She let Minnie walk all over her, and instead of telling her ‘best friend’ that she had feelings for the same guy, she lied about it. Repeatedly. Not that she should have been going after her best friend’s ‘love’ in the first place. She also lied to TJ over and over again. It was just plain ridiculous and cowardly and she just dug the hole deeper for herself. She had nasty thoughts going through her head, yet would smile in the person’s face and kiss their ass. Talk about two-faced. Not to mention she was thinking about boys and kissing when someone DIED. It was all just a bit too high school for me.

Meg felt dizzy. Had he just kissed her? Had T.J. Fletcher just kissed her?
Several thoughts filled her head simultaneously.
Number one – she was quite probably going to pass out from joy.
Number two – had he meant to kiss her? Had it been a mistake? No, that was silly. How could it possibly have been a mistake unless he was trying to lick something off her face?
Number three – was there any way Minnie might have seen them?

Lick something off her face? Really? Hey, you ah, got a little leftover dinner on your face. It’s okay, I got ya. I’ll just LICK IT OFF. BECAUSE THAT’S TOTALLY NORMAL.
And how the hell do you ‘accidentally’ kiss someone? Oops, sorry. I accidentally tripped into your face and kissed you. That happens to me all the time.

Meg’s face, meet Geo’s fist. Now share a nice moment together.

Another complaint? Overuse of the words ‘weird,’ ‘off,’ and ‘wrong.’ Us poor wittle readers don’t need anybody holding our wittle hands. I think we can tell for ourselves that things were weird without it being pointed out constantly.

Other than all that – I know it seems like a lot – I did rather enjoy the last half. Aside from the irritating and immature characters and drama, the book was actually pretty good. It was creepy and full of suspense, and the background for the killings was great. I liked how the journal entries were connected to the murders and the way they happened; it was quite brilliant. And I didn’t figure out who the killer was, so kudos for that. Although I did figure out that the obvious suspect was a farce.

Without the horror movie fluff (read: drama and angst), this probably would have been a 4 or 4.5 for me. The suspense really hooked me! 

Plot: 4.5/5
Writing style: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5 starfish
Jessi (Geo)

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4 responses to “Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

  1. I love that your reviews are so brutally honest! I had heard a lot of good about this book. Was contemplating reading it too. But, I am a lot like you, I like a strong lead. Tho the idea behind the story has my attention, I’m worried I might sit there seething at all these little things, much like you’ve brought up.

  2. Thanks ladies!
    Ashley, if you can get through the first half most of those little seething moments go away. The ending made it worth the read anyway. You never know, you may end up liking it :)

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