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I Belong

Early Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Get EvenTitle: Get Even

AuthorGretchen McNeil

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: Don’t Get Mad (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

Format: Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062260855 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062260857 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Follows the secretive exploits of four high school juniors – Kitty, Olivia, Margot and Bree – at an exclusive Catholic prep school.

To all outward appearances, the girls barely know each other. At best, they don’t move in the same social circles; at worst, they’re overtly hostile.

Margot Mejia – academically ranked number two in her class, Margot is a focused overachiever bound for the Ivy League.

Kitty Wei – captain of the California state and national champion varsity girls’ volleyball team, she’s been recruited by a dozen colleges and has dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal.

Olivia Hayes – popular star of the drama program, she’s been voted “most eligible bachelorette” two years running in the high school yearbook and has an almost lethal combination of beauty and charm.

Bree Deringer – outcast, misfit and the kind of girl you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, the stop sign red-haired punk is a constant thorn in the side of teachers and school administrators alike.

Different goals, different friends, different lives, but the girls share a secret no one would ever guess. They are members of Don’t Get Mad, a society specializing in seeking revenge for fellow students who have been silently victimized by their peers. Each girl has her own reason for joining the group, her own set of demons to assuage by evening the score for someone else. And though school administration is desperate to find out who is behind the DGM “events”, the girls have managed to keep their secret well hidden.

That is until one of their targets – a douchebag senior who took advantage of a drunk underclassman during a house party, videotaped it on his phone, and posted it on YouTube – turns up dead, and DGM is implicated in the murder.

Now the girls don’t know who to trust, and as their tenuous alliance begins to crumble, the secrets they’ve hidden for so long might be their ultimate undoing.

Quick & Dirty: Amazing mystery novel filled with suspense, drama, and engaging characters. All fans of Pretty Little Liars, both the books and the TV show, will love this great new series!

Opening Sentence: BREE SAT BACK AGAINST THE CHAIN-LINK FENCE, BOUNCING her tennis racket lightly against the toe of her black Converse. “

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Bishop Dumaine high school has a serious bully problem.  The headmaster turns a blind eye because all he cares about is the reputation the school has for being good at sports and academics.  This has forced the students to do something about the problem.  A group of four girls take it upon themselves to enforce punishment upon those that have wronged other people.  Margot Mejia, Kitty Wei, Olivia Hayes, and Bree Deringer decided to form a secret group known as DGM or Don’t Get Mad.  On the outside the four girls couldn’t be more different, so no one would suspect them being part of a highly illegal group that is out for revenge.

Their pranks are never violent and the victims always have it coming. But then all the sudden their next target shows up dead and their group is implemented in the murder.  It also looks like their secret is out as well because someone is passing along mysterious manila envelopes to each girl. As secrets start to come out the girls begin to doubt each other and their tender alliance falls apart. But the girls are going to have to band together if they want to find the true murderer.

Margot is the super smart girl that takes all the AP classes and plans on going to an Ivy League college. She is a very shy girl and has always been awkward in social situations.  Out of all the characters I thought Margot was probably the most interesting to get to know.  Throughout the story you get to watch her step outside of her comfort zone and see her actually start to act like a normal teenager. It made her easier to connect with because you get to experience so many first’s with her.  She also has a sad past and has had first hand experiences with bullying. This made me feel really sympathetic towards her and made me like her even more.

Kitty is the athletic one.  She is the captain of the varsity volleyball team that just recently won the state championship, and she has been offered scholarships from colleges all over the country. Kitty is a born leader. Not only is she the captain of the volley team she is also the leader of DGM. Obviously she is very confident in certain aspects of her life, but in others she is actually very shy.  She doesn’t have much experience when it comes to boys and I loved that we got to watch her stumble through her first real date.  She also struggles academically. I liked Kitty, she was a strong character and fun to get to know.

Olivia is the super popular one of the group.  She is drop dead gorgeous and really big into acting.  She is actually the nicest one out of all the girls.  She is always trying to lift other people and she wants to be friends with everyone. But at the same time she has a hard time with conflict and standing up to people. She is one of the few students at Bishop Dumaine that doesn’t have wealthy parents. I liked that she doesn’t have a bitter attitude about her situation and it made me respect her more. While I liked Olivia I didn’t feel a huge connection to her character, but I am hoping that will be remedied in the next book.

Last we have Bree who happens to be my favorite character of all the girls.  She is the social misfit that always likes to cause problems.  She has a rich daddy that’s never around and some serious insecurities, but that just made me love her more.  She has such a free spirit and is a little rough around the edges.  She grew up with money so material Things mean very little to her but the relationships she has developed with the few people she lets into her life mean the world to her. At times she can be pretty oblivious to what’s going on right in front of her face, but that just made her more human to me.  Out of all the girls, I felt that she had the least to make up for in her past and it made her reasons for joining DGM more sincere.  I’m not going to talk about all the love interests for each girl because that would take too long but Bree’s boy by far was my favorite. I’m not going to lie, that made me more eager to read her parts of the story.

Get Even was a fantastic mystery full of suspense, drama, and engaging characters.  Each girl is so unique and even though the book altered between each character I always knew exactly whose mind I was in.  They are all so different, but they each added their own personal twist to the story.  McNeil does a wonderful job drawing you into the story at the very beginning and she keeps you intrigued up to the last page. I am not going to lie to you, the ending leaves you dying to get your hands on the next book.  McNeil’s writing was very engaging and she really knows how to make you sit on the edge of your seat in anticipation for what’s going to happen next.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of Pretty Little Liars, it was similar in a lot of ways but also its own original story.  If you are a fan of young adult mysteries you need to pick this one up.

Notable Scene:

Bree stared at her for a moment, then without a word, she thrust her arm forward.

“I, Bree Deringer, do solemnly swear, no secrets—ever—shall leave this square.”

The square was complete, everyone was in agreement about the plan, but Kitty still looked each of them in the eye, just to make sure. She didn’t see a hint of doubt in anyone.

“Ronny’s a predator,” she said. “And we can stop him from hurting someone else.” Kitty thrust out her chin.

“Don’t get mad!”

All three girls answered in strong, solid unison.

“Get even!”

Don’t Get Mad Series:

1. Get Even (September 16, 2014)

2. Get Dirty (May 2015)

FTC Advisory:  Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Get Even.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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