Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Published September 18th 2012 by HarperCollins
ARC provided by the publisher
Ten is a YA adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. In Gretchen McNeil’s version, ten teens get invited to a party on Henry Island, where they get cut off from the outside world by a horrible storm. Then people start dying, and it seems like the killer won’t stop until he gets to them all.
I’m afraid me and Ten got off on the wrong foot. It’s written in third person perspective, following Meg. I absolutely hated Meg. She’s been best friends with bipolar Minnie forever, and she has to care for Minnie and look out for her constantly. Apparently Minnie isn’t just bipolar, she’s also just a very awful en delusional person. That’s a reason for Meg to constantly lie to Minnie about liking Minnie’s long-time crush, while every person with eyes can see that Meg is head over heels over this boy. I get that Minnie treats Meg badly – she does, and there is no excuse for that (no, it’s not because she’s bipolar). But to constantly lie about something to the person you call your best friend? That’s NOT how a friend should act. EVER.
It doesn’t matter to me how Meg justified it for herself, it’s just not something I can accept from a character. Overall I didn’t get her character anyway, the way she is described doesn’t comply with her actions. She is called a geeky writer, yet when the bodies start hitting the floor she doesn’t write to get things off her chest. She doesn’t write one word in the entire book. She’s not even very observant, or something else that might explain the constant “oh my god I’m a writer so I am soooo awkward around people”. She gets called shy and someone that doesn’t like to talk in groups, but from the start of the novel she makes weird and inappropriate sarcastic comments. She’s also extremely judgemental (there is a girl who’s a bit of a control freak – Meg is denigrating her in her mind all the time, even though she just met her). Overall, let’s just say me and Meg are never going to be friends.
Then there is Minnie, the bipolar needy friend. First things first. If you write about an illness, do your research. There is quite some talk of Minnie not taking her meds, her antidepressants. She shouldn’t! Manic depressed people don’t take antidepressants! Antidepressants can bring on a continuous state of manic episodes, which are dangerous for the patient and the people around him/her. Bipolar people take mood stabilisers, to stay in the sweet spot between manic and depressed episodes. I’m not sure what Minnie had, but she doesn’t really seem to act bipolar to me. It’s like she’s a very, very flawed character with bipolar disorder on top, making her almost entirely unlikeable. I would have very much preferred her to be bipolar (and therefore quite often hard to live with) but overall a good person. She doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities.
There is also the love triangle between Meg, Minnie and the hunk TJ. I’m starting to think these guys deserve each other. TJ isn’t a saint either. He is controlling and slightly weird. He also declares his love to a person in the book, saying “Oh, I have loved you for months!”. Said person reacts “Yeah? Well, why did you date fifty people in between?”. TJ goes on to state that he constantly thought of said person while he was dating them. Erm, yeah right. Why the hell did you date at all if you were in love with someone else? That doesn’t seem fair to the people you’re dating either. I call bull shit!
Now I’m done ranting about the characters, I will get on with the mystery part of Ten. I actually liked that one (hurray!). It was quite a spooky read in places, and a very quick read overall. Once the bodies start dropping, the pace picks up and the story gets interesting. I haven’t read And Then There Were None, so I can’t say anything about how Ten‘s story relates to the original, but I liked the way it was presented. I wasn’t that impressed with the resolution, it was a combination of something very predictable and something that felt like a deus ex machina. Yes, I’m being vague on purpose, since spoiling the ending of a mystery novel is awful.
Ten is an okay YA mystery novel. Even though I hated the characters, I enjoyed the plot itself. If you can get around the characters (which I know most people have and will), I’m sure you will enjoy this novel. If the story interests you, don’t be afraid to give it a try!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. House party.
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?
- Review: The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines (3/5 Stars)
- Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Ripper by Amy Carrol Reeves (4/5 Stars)
- Audiobook Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (3/5 Stars)