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I Belong

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 294 Pages

ISBN-100062118781 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062118783 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Michelle


SHHHH! Don’t spread the word! 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?

Quick & Dirty: Murder mystery meets young adult in this tale, good for a quick, scary read.

Opening Sentence: Minnie’s face was deathly pale.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I don’t normally read stories that are themed with horror and murder. I tend to dwell on the images and it causes nightmares. But I couldn’t resist reading Gretchen McNeill’s Ten. The cover is gorgeous despite the dark and terrifying theme. The simplicity of the font, the somewhat haze of the island. It brilliantly sets the tone for the book.

Ten high school teens travel to Henry Island, off the coast into a vacation island. Meg, along with others have been invited to spend the weekend of partying and other fun shenanigans at White Rock House. What they don’t expect is the horrible weather, the isolation from the rest of society, and murder. In a young adult version of a murder mystery, teens are dying, one by one. The storm worsens conditions and there is no way to seek help. And the only clue they have is a video left by someone unknown, and it’s message: Vengeance is mine.

Meg is the frontrunner in Ten, if you will. Formerly one of the popular girls, she fell out when she befriended Minnie. I liked Meg. She had this appeal to her that I can’t fully describe. Meg was easy to relate to. Meg was courageous and brave; obviously the only one with enough gumption to see it through the end. She wasn’t a character that exactly stood out. She was the level-headed one of the group, obviously, but there wasn’t anything quirky or excitable, at least for me.

I felt that I didn’t know the characters enough. Except for those who were alive near the end, I didn’t fully connect with the characters killed in the beginning. But for a stand-alone book, it must be hard to make that connection. There was a good array of personalities though. From the spoiled to the brainiac, it was easy to belong. Even if I didn’t completely immerse myself in the group, McNeil allowed me to be a part of what was going on.

My senses were alert, my brain processing images both haunting and creepy. Ten played like a horror movie, for the younger crowd. But despite the targeted age group, there were a lot of things that made my skin crawl. I applaud you McNeil. The focus of Ten was more towards the murders than actual set up or world building. I was really intrigued about the island, but didn’t really see much aside from the ferry ride. It made for a great start, but I wanted more.

Ten reminds me of Harper’s Island, a show on TV that I adored. Similar premise and very similar outcome. From the first death, I felt that the rest of the deaths were already laid out for the reader. But what I didn’t expect was the pacing. With each murder, a truth was revealed. Puzzle pieces slowly put together that went together with a song.

Ten was twisted, feeding to those who love a murder mystery. Murders filled the pages, and one by one I saw McNeil’s creepy imagination. Good, quick read. But please, make sure you have a night light on.

Notable Scene:

A shadow on the white wall of the tower caught Meg’s eye. There was something odd about it, something familiar, and yet there shouldn’t be a shadow on that wall. The windows in the tower didn’t have any curtains on them, nothing to cast a shadow. Meg stared at it for a second and noticed the shadow was moving, swaying slowly from left to right.


Meg froze, her eyes locked on the shadow. The heavy form, oblong and amorphous except for the dangling appendages . . .

Legs. They were legs.

Meg opened her mouth and screamed.

FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Ten. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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