Three-day weekend. Party at 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
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: September 18, 201
RATING: 4.5/5 STARS
**Warning: Contains Some Minor Spoilers**
As with most book reviews, there were things to love about Gretchen McNeil’s TEN, and things to not love so much. Fortunately, I liked much more than I disliked. Here’s a list of both:
The MC: Meg. Her voice was straightforward, no nonsense, and even she was fairly relatable. I felt her fears and suspicions were portrayed well, and that made her a believable character.
The pacing: I got no fault to pick with it whatsoever. It was a fast read, with just the right amount of mush, just the right amount of suspense, just the right amount of description, just the right amount of almost everything.
The whodunit: Damn. This was my favourite part of the book. I spent the entire read trying to figure it out, and this is mostly down to the grand job Ms McNeil did of making each and every one of them look like a suspect. I changed my mind so many darn times, I never know which way to turn and who not to face my back to. This is testament to the author’s story-weaving abilities. She keeps the reader on their toes, for sure—she certainly did me, anyway.
The family debates this stirred: it’s not very often I force my reading addiction onto my family—especially my kids—but occasionally I come across a book that warrants their involvement. TEN was one of those books. Because I needed someone to bounce off the whodunit ideas. I needed someone to bounce back with their own ideas. My son made a great sounding board for this—to the point even he was guessing. Even after I’d finished the book. He must be more devious than me, though, as he called it, and I didn’t.
The love interest: I liked TJs character a LOT. We meet him from the off, and are given the chance to like him from the off. He even continues to be there whenever and wherever Meg needs him the whole way throughout the entire novel. But even he isn’t free of suspicion—because when the suspicion is turned in his direction, it’s all too easy to accept it may be true.
And onto the not so liked:
The ending: okay, let me just clarify—it wasn’t the actual ending-ending I didn’t like. It wasn’t the wrap up of the whodunit or any part of that within the book that bugged me. It was more the fact that there were two teens sat on an island surrounded by dead bodies, and they’re all swoony and smiling like the past terrifying hours didn’t happen to them. It was just too clean. And it kind of wiped away some of the believability the author had going on throughout the rest of the book.
That said, did it mar my enjoyment of the book? Well, only by a smidgeon, so I’ve only knocked a half star off for it. Otherwise, I really truly got no complaints. Because this book took me less than a weekend to read and kept me intrigued and interested and hooked and, more importantly, entertained. In short: it did its job. So, if you love a good whodunit with amazing pacing, then you’ll most definitely enjoy Gretchen McNeil’s TEN.
Gretchen is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown. Her YA horror/paranormal POSSESS debuts with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins, August 23, 2011. Her second novel, TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – also with Balzer + Bray is tentatively scheduled for a Fall 2012release.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she currently sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She is a founding member of vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday," and she is an active member of both The Enchanted Inkpot, a group blog of YA and middle grade fantasy writers, and The Apocalypsies, a group blog of 2012 children's debut authors.
You can find Gretchen on Twitter, Facebook, and on her blog.