Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardback: 304 pages
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: September 18, 2012
Series: Stand alone
Reviewed by: Helen
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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?
TEN was a thrilling, fast-paced suspenseful horror story that I absolutely loved! One of the very best mysteries I've read all year. It starts with ten teens who seem an odd bunch to be invited to a weekend-long party at a wealthy family's island home. But since it's the most popular girl in school that's inviting them, they don't dare refuse. Upon arriving at the island home, they are stranded by a severe storm, and soon find that someone seems determined to keep them there. When they start dying one by one, they have only two options: there is either someone else in the house, or one of them is the killer.
I instantly bonded with the main character Meg. The supporting characters were also strong and multi-dimensional. I was skeptical at first that the reader would be able to connect with ten characters in a single book without feeling confused. Fortunately, I was completely wrong. Though the novel is told from Meg's point of view, the others around her also come to life very quickly.
I like to consider myself pretty hard to fool - I normally have a fairly decent idea of how I think things are going to play out in a story. Especially one like this, where each time one of them died, the suspect pool got smaller and smaller. That said, TEN completely knocked me off my chair. I had two main theories while reading. The first was what I thought would be the easy way out. It would have been a clean way to end. The second was what I hoped would be the actual ending, as it was a bit more intriguing. I was completely off on both counts. Every few pages something else would surface that would have me flip-flopping back and forth between which of these two theories I thought would play out. But by the last chapter, it turned out I was completely wrong. And I loved it.
The plotting was absolutely superb. The sort that you can only fully appreciate while looking back at all the breadcrumbs left by author once you reach the end. I really respect that fact that McNeil didn't tie this up too neatly either. It was a messy ending, exactly what was needed to make a story like this realistic.
If you're looking for a thrilling, masterfully plotted stand-alone novel to keep you on your toes, TEN is absolutely the perfect fit. You most definitely won't regret it!