Ten by Gretchen McNeil Review

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil (Twitter)
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

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?
All Meg and Minnie really wanted was a little holiday to unwind and get the boy of their dreams to be interested in them. Plus, throw in all the extras, and the weekend has all the makings for a complete success. Or, it should. Ten friends arrived at the luxe party on Henry Island, but after stumbling across an odd video with an ominous message, one by one, they start getting picked off. They're stuck on the island with no real way off...but how exactly will they survive the weekend, and why are they even in these circumstances?

Guys, I have a secret. Okay, it's not really a secret, but here goes: I love mysteries. And horror. And slasher flicks even though I have to sit with my eyes closed and my ears plugged. Yes, I know that it defeats the purpose. Moving on. Because of this, I immediately knew that Ten would be my cup of tea. Gretchen McNeil has crafted an eerie, atmospheric tale that invites readers to what seems like an idyllic setting, then wreaks havoc on our psyches as the characters begin dropping like flies. Ten is an engaging twist on the classic whodunit tale, guaranteeing you a healthy dose of twisted fun throughout.

I put off reading Ten for a really long time. And, frankly, I'll say that the plethora of one and two-star reviews really deterred my interest in the book for a good long while. I was really worried that the story would be trite and horror-lite, and I suppose that it was in some ways, but the author spins the story in a way that this actually works in its favour. The strength of the novel lies within the details. From the minute our characters arrive on Henry Island, we are there with them. We experience the blistering, foreboding winds of the storm. The atmosphere and setup are tense and dramatic, engaging you from the get-go, and with vivid imagery and a picture-perfect backdrop for such a mysterious novel, Ten succeeds. Furthermore, I think that the characters were well portrayed. I was invested in the fates of Meg and Minnie, and I definitely knew who I wanted to survive, and who I was really hoping would meet a swift and decisive end. Perhaps this means that the characters were a bit too obvious, but it worked for me. However, I do feel that this book is a bit horror-lite, if that makes sense. It's mysterious, it's eerie - it's even a tad campy at times - but it's not really an intense horror story filled with gore, pleading for one's life or even a real, true scare. But, with such a visually appealing and engaging backdrop for a story that is still riddled with tension, I found myself almost forgiving the character stereotypes and lack of true horror. 

All in all, I can see why not everyone enjoyed Ten, but for me, it worked for the most part. If I look at it from the standpoint that it's YA, and therefore not true horror, it succeeds. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy a good mystery or light horror story.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I like mystery books as well but I fail to find ones that actually are mysterious. Good to know that this sorta is one! I'll be keeping a keen eye out now.

    Brilliant review, Melissa! <33

  2. I loved this one, Melissa! I read it as a Halloween read last year, which was the perfect time to read it, and really, really enjoyed it. I love horror and mystery too. Can't wait to read Gretchen's next book!

  3. I love mysteries, too! There's got to be great tension and build-up and a great setting doesn't hurt, either.

  4. Whoa. This sounds right up my alley - I love mysteries too. In book form, that is. I can't watch anything scary or I'll have nightmares.

  5. The cover reminds me of Harper's Island! Did you ever watch that? If not, do it! Right now!

    Great review, gal! I can't wait to read this one. Yet another book on my list.

  6. I've been putting this off for the longest time for those same reasons, even though I own a copy, but if there's something I appreciate, it's attention to detail. I think I just changed my mind about this book. I'll definitely be giving it a fair chance soon.
    Lovely review, Melissa!

  7. I've seen mixed reviews of this, though I know I won't read it because I love the original too much and such re-tellings never work for me, unfortunately. I'm glad to see you did like it, though, Melissa. Maybe I'll give this author another chance in the future.

  8. I enjoyed this book since I'm into gore, mystery and thriller. I agree on the vivid imagery :) Great review, Melissa :)


  9. This actually looks interesting even though we have all seen this type of plot before. Thanks for giving your review. I may give it a try.

    New follower!

  10. I really enjoyed Ten to be totally honest! I read this one for a creepy halloween fix. I can see why some people didn't like it though

  11. I found this quite creepy-I started reading it at night when home by myself and had to stop until the next day in order to be able to remain calm! It was just too much for me (yes, I'm a wimp!)


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