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Ten by Gretchen McNeil (2012)
Ten (2012)
by Gretchen McNeil
Hardcover Edition
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Buy a copy via Amazon.
Synopsis from Goodreads.

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 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.

My Thoughts:
As a thriller lover, and with all the hype surrounding this book, I’ve been anticipating Gretchen McNeil’s Ten since spring. Christopher Pike’s blurb that claimed McNeil’s setup to be flawless sold me. So I finally got my hands on it and finished it in about a day (it’s 300 pages long, but with the generous line spacing, it felt more like 150.) And now I think Christopher Pike is a filthy liar.

Pacing Saved (and Killed) This Book:
The fast pacing made Ten readable. Dead people left and right. But the fast pace (and the piling dead people) desensitized me while also severely limiting character development. The characters all felt like paper dolls created to be killed off a few seconds later.

Spooning. Is it just me, or does that sound dirty?
What I thought when I first encountered “spooning”: “Wait…they just witnessed a dead body five seconds ago, this isn’t a good time for sexy times! What’s wrong with these horny teens?”
I must’ve re-read both occurrences where “spooning” popped up, the image in my head wasn’t pretty. But this might be just me with my dirty mind. *twiddles thumbs* Why must they spoon? Is cuddling too mainstream?

Isthmus must be Gretchen McNeil’s favorite word.

Meh, It’s Not Even Scary:
There’s MILD gore. And MAYBE the girl with bad hair is scary. But this is all child’s play (pun intended.) And this is from a girl who thought Suzanne Collin’s Mockingjay was scary.

McNeil is Testing My Memory! And I Failed.:
With ten teens, all the names became a confusing jumble. Aside from the three main characters, I didn’t know who was who throughout the novel. The one exception was the Asian chick, whose name was conveniently named Kumiko. If only the black guy was named Jerome and if there was a Mexican named Jose…(I know I am being stereotypical, but at least I won’t forget the characters by the next page.) I don’t know why the two main girls (Meg and Minnie) had to have names that started with the same letter, I was probably a third through before I got the hang of their names. And at that point, I gave up even trying with the others (why should I? I know most of them will end up dead anyway.)

Never Mind Apathy, I Dislike These People:
When you think about it, all these teenagers lied to their parents thinking they are badasses to drink and party for three days straight. Not to mention that they are all pretty shallow to attend a party because they want to be in the “popular” crowd. Every time someone dies, a girl shrieks, they get scared for five seconds…and then they make out with each other. The worst offender is Meg who thinks she witty and smarter than everyone else (because apparently, she’s a writer), but she’s just mean (she also has the tendency to recklessly charge into suspicious rooms and reads people’s secret diaries.) Worse yet, she “forgets” to grab the gun because she rather fiddle with the boat ignition when a murderer IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. WHUT? This chick has some serious amnesia. Even the people around her aren’t much better: her crush roots for her to voice her mean opinions and her best friend also treats her like trash and secretly hates her for taking away her popularity.

Romance, They are too horny for their own good:
These people have the worst timing ever. But the worst is the main couple: Meg and TJ. Meg swoons about TJ 24/7. Never mind people dying, never mind there’s a murderer in the house, I WANT TO MAKE OUT! TJ on the other hand seems to take it for granted that everyone loves him: he kisses Meg out of nowhere then starts referring to her as “baby,” like a douchebag trying to get some action. Then before you know it, the dreaded “love” card is drawn.

They Must’ve Never Watched a Horror Flick, Nor Do They Have Common Sense
Any reasonable person in their shoes would either make sure nobody leaves each other’s line of sight or wait for sunlight. But for some reason that’s too mainstream for these teens and they prefer wandering off alone. If you are going to stay in your room, make sure you don’t leave and guard your door like you’re in a zombie apocalypse!

Foreshadowing Is Like Being Hit With Bricks
Too obvious much? The opening chapters are filled with OMG-PWWEEEAASEEE-LOOK-AT-ME!-I’M-FORESHADOWING hints that the party isn’t really a party. STOP IT ALREADY, I GET IT. They’re going to some island in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal–in the middle of a horrible storm. It’s clearly not going to be a fun party…I GET IT, NOW LET’S MOVE ON.

There are so many plot holes I don’t even…ugh. Although if it WAS a “realistic” story, everyone would turn back after finding out they had no 4G coverage. NO PHONE? NO TEXTING? NO FACEBOOK? NO TWITTER? OMG, NOOOOOOOOOO, I CAN’T SURVIVE. We’d only have Verizon users showing up. And the Asian girl who aced science probably wouldn’t show up either. NO TIME FOR PARTY, MUST STUDY.

I was going to read McNeil’s debut novel, Possess, right after finishing Ten, but after this mess, I need a break from her work. I know Ten is a re-telling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which I haven’t read; I wonder how closely Ten sticks to the original. I found Ten a big disappointment that I would only recommend to people looking for a quick, brainless, horror thriller with mild gore.

Rating: D++