Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, August 27, 2012
Genre: Mystery (Retelling)
Publisher: Balzar and Bray
Series: Standalone
When Meg and Minnie get invited by the most popular girl in school to spend a weekend on Henry Island, they know there's no way they can't go. But from the start, things begin to go wrong. First it's the terrible, raging storm, then it's the fact that T.J. (the boy both Meg and Minnie are in love with) is on the island with them, and then it's the ominous DVD. Soon enough, the ten teenagers realize that they are all in very serious danger and that they'll be lucky if any of them make it off of the island alive. 
As A Retelling
And Then There Were None is one of my favorite books I've ever read in school. (In fact, I read it before it was required reading.) It is utterly chilling and suspenseful, and Ten really captures that. I was tearing through the pages and completely terrified in the best possible way. As far as retellings go, Ten is definitely a solid one, reworking bits and pieces of ATTWN to make the story fresh. Unfortunately, if you have read Christie's novel, you'll probably guess "who dun it." I had my suspicions about 150 pages before the end of the book and was dead (pardon the pun) certain of it 50 pages before the culprit is revealed. I really can't say anymore because of spoilers, but that was the one bit that disappointed me. I was really hoping for some twist that would prove my guess wrong.

I really connected with Meg, the protagonist. She's a writer, first of all, and a bit of a goody two-shoes. She's also fiercely protective of her best friend, Minnie. Basically, the only problem I had with Meg was her relationship, or lack there-of, with T.J. When there are murders happening left and right, you'd think she'd be more focused on figuring out the killer than whether she has said the right thing to her crush. In all honesty, I'm not sure whether I was a fan of the romantic arc. It added depth to some parts of the story, certainly, but at times, I just wasn't into it.

The names were another problem. In the beginning, having two characters with names that start with "M" took me out of the story whenever I had to figure out who the author was talking about, which was a little frustrating. Thankfully, they have very distinct personalities so after a while, I didn't have to think about who was Meg and who was Minnie.

How the characters cope while dealing with the threat of their potential deaths, along with their own personal baggage, makes for a brilliant, suspenseful dynamic. Each of the ten teens are vastly different and very well fleshed-out. Again, I can't really say anything more because of spoilers, but the majority of the characters are really well-written!

The Setting
The island is eerie- the perfect setting for a mystery novel. There's an awesome twist involving the setting that is really very creepy. Plus, there isn't any Internet access or phones, so the characters are completely cut off from the rest of the world. If the idea of no Internet doesn't terrify the typical modern teenager, I don't know what will. 

Ten is thrilling, chilling, and a great retelling, if just the slightest bit predictable. It's like getting the chance to read And Then There Were None again for the first time, and come on, who wouldn't want that??

Other books by Gretchen McNeil: Possess
What are some of your favorite mystery novels?

You can join the Army of Ten to win awesome prizes, including signed swag and an acknowledgement in Gretchen McNeil's next book!! 
Just click this link: The Army of Ten


  1. I'm a sucker for setting like this, and I love the Agatha Christie books, so I'm definitely going to have to pick this one up. It's too bad there wasn't more of a twist, but it still sounds like eerie fun.

  2. I can't wait to read this one. I'm actually dying to order it now after your review! I love mysteries and this sounds right up my alley :)


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