Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Published: 9-18-12 by Balzer + Bray
Get the book: Amazon, The Book Depository

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?


Design – Ray Shappell       Rating – 4/5

I really, really like this cover. It’s the perfect amount of eerie, and the color scheme is perfect for the creepy atmosphere of the book. I love how simple this cover is, with the title taking up more than half of it. The title going from red to a darker, blood color at the bottom is probably my favorite part – narrowly beating the gloomy color scheme. The ominous stormy sky and the dark water are ideal for a horror story on an island. I don’t really care for the tagline (I generally dislike taglines anyway), but I do appreciate how the third part is in red.


thought green

I have been wanting to read Ten ever since I saw this cover. I enjoy mysteries and this sounded like a book I read in middle school called The Name of the Game Was Murder, which I loved. Not that I remember it well, but I still have it, which means I really loved it. Anyhow, I’m glad I got the ebook of Ten on sale because I very nearly returned it. It was that bad. The characters – all 10 of them – are each shallower than the last. The situation is intense, but not likely due to the age of the teens. I disliked this book so much from the very start that I almost quit before the first murder even happened. That’s a bad sign, but I kept reading.

loved green


  • murderer – The one redeeming thing about this book is that I didn’t know who the murderer was until the big reveal. Even the last-minute fake-out had me convinced for a few pages. And what I consider to be the big twist in the plot is great. Not mind-blowing, but truly brilliant in a whoa, why didn’t I see that one coming kind of way. Meg had her suspicions throughout the story, and I was mostly right there with her because all of the suspects made sense. But when it came to who actually did it, I had no idea. I thought I did until it was revealed. That is the most important thing to me in a mystery story. 

didn't love green


  • expendable characters – There are (surprise!) ten characters in this story. So, I had a lot of trouble keeping everyone straight, especially since most of them were introduced in the space of two pages or what felt like two pages. On top of that, about half the characters went to a different school than Meg. This sounds fine, but caused me tons of confusion in how everyone knew each other. Not that it really matters who all these people are because most of them are merely there to be killed off horrifically, but it’s difficult to keep being interested in the fact that these people are being murdered if you have no clue who they are. 
  • Meg + Minnie – Talk about a dysfunctional friendship. Minnie is portrayed as a needy mental case who is completely bitchy to her BFF, Meg. I really don’t have any knowledge or experience with bipolar disorder, but Meg is only shown as really unappreciative and awful to meg, as well as a bit paranoid when she can’t find her medication. I don’t think that mental disorders need any help being stigmatized and thought of as strange. I wish that, if the author wanted to include a character with a mental disorder (which is great to do), that this character had been on of the more “normal” ones. Or at least kinder. Meg seems to spend she and Minnie’s entire friendship apologizing to others when Minnie’s done something rude.
  • the party – Where is this island with only two houses on it? I don’t remember the hostess being described as rich enough to own one of two houses on an island. Why was the hostess of the party not the first one there? How did these people get in this house without her? What 17 or 18-year-old’s parents let them go to a party on an island in the middle of nowhere? Why would you want to go to a party where you only know two or three other people? I would get it if it was a huge party, but with ten people total it seems odd and awkward. Also, did no one check the weather before going to an abandoned island only accessible by ferry?
  • Meg/TJ/Minnie triangle – This love triangle is awful. TJ is a football player and is lacking in personality except for doing things to assert himself as the Alpha male. TJ is pushy. Meg’s totally gonna like me if I constantly force her to question the foundation of her friendship with Minnie! Minnie is slightly obsessive about being with TJ, and would much rather just be a jerk to Meg about Meg’s own interest in TJ instead of having a heart-to-heart about it. Meg, rather than standing up to her supposed BFF about their mutual crush, would rather turn TJ down for a date and then proceed to avoid talking to him for…well, forever I guess.
  • motivation – During the murderer’s whole rant about his/her motives, he/she goes on and on about how the murders are for vengeance. Now, pointing out the fact that you’re a villain revealing your entire plan doesn’t keep you from continuing your clichéd rant. This person has been killing these teens for revenge. That’s fine, except that most of them died before this whole revenge thing was revealed. So, you punished them by killing them, but is it still revenge if they have no idea why you’re killing them? It sure did seem important to you that Meg get the full story before she got murdered/survived your attack.

quotes green


There’d been a sense of comfort, however distant, in the idea that there was another house party going on her, just across the isthmus from White Rock House. Kind of like long-distance chaperones in case anything really bad happened. Only apparently the whole thing was a sham. The party, the people, the sense of warmth and safety. All of it was gone in an instant. It was all an illusion.             – pg. 186

“Oh, you know. What’s not to smile about? A bunch of my friends are dead and you shot me.”     – pg. 291

  2robots green

2 Robots

Acquired: Bought (ebook)


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