Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Series: N/A
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Page Count: 296
Published: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  3 Stars ★★★

Meg and Minnie are best friends who are excited to spend the weekend at a house party on an island. The only way to the island is by ferry and their families have no idea where they are going. It seems like the perfect act of fun and harmless rebellion, and the fact that the popular and hot T.J. is going to be there just adds to the excitement.

After meeting with the others at the house, all ten teens gather around the television to watch a movie and end up deciding on a disc labelled "don't watch me." The disc contains a mysterious and threatening message and leaves all the teens on edge, which only worsens when one of them is found dead.

With suspicions that there is a killer amongst them, trust is wearing thin and Minnie's mental state gradually worsens. People are dying, and anybody could be next. Could this have to do with the picture of the dead girl that Meg found in her room?

This book wasn't exactly what I had expected. From the reviews I read and the synopsis on the back of the book, I expected this to be creepier. There were creepy elements, though it seemed like more of a mystery than a horror book. Which is fine, in itself. But I guess I was a bit disappointed.

First off we have Meg. The main character, Minnie's best friend, and crushing on T.J. She was alright as a character, but I did find her annoying at times. Who would worry at all about romance, appearances and boys while people are dropping dead, you have no way to communicate with the outside world and there is literally a killer within the vicinity? I feel like the author could've integrated the romantic aspect of the story a bit better. It seemed unrealistic for such a tense and frightening situation. An example of this is on page 105: "She must have looked like some dorky tween just up from a slumber party...who was about to go down to the boathouse with a hot boy. Alone." I sincerely doubt one's priorities would remain so superficial in such a tragic situation.

There were some inaccuracies within the book, especially considering Ben's so-called tree nut allergy. This bothered me a lot. A bit of a spoiler, but there is a scene near the beginning where the characters are eating a salad, Ben has a reaction so severe that his face is literally described as turning purple, and Meg stabs his leg with his epipen. Then a few minutes later, Ben is back to normal and says, "It's no big deal, guys. Seriously. Happens all the time" (page 55). I feel like the author does not know anybody with severe tree nut allergies, and that she didn't do her research. When you give somebody an epipen because they are having an allergic reaction so severe that their face turns purple, you still need to take them to the hospital because the epipen only helps for a few minutes. Not to mention that he reacted to almonds, which technically aren't actually tree nuts. They are actually considered seeds. This annoyed me so much, because I felt this was lazy on the author's part and I am disappointed that this sort of inaccuracy somehow made it into a professionally published book.

Once again, just disappointment.

I guess this just adds to how unrealistic the book was for me. Meg thinking about romance and her looks as people are dying around her. Ben's laughable reaction and allergy.

There were some good things, of course. There were several surprising plot twists, for example. I wasn't expecting them at all. I like how the author used the stormy weather to add to the suspenseful atmosphere and create challenges for the teens, which added a decent dose of dread to the story.

If you're a fan of YA thrillers you might enjoy this book. If you like dark stories with lots of plot twists I recommend this. If you're willing to look past, or are not bothered by, inaccuracies and some unrealistic situations, this could be enjoyable for you.