Monday, November 19, 2012


Ten by Gretchen McNeil
4/5 stars
Balzer + Bray, 2012
294 pages
YA Mystery Thriller Contemporary

Source: Bought (an autographed copy!)

As a long-time Agatha Christie fan and a huge fan of retellings, this book inspired by her classic And Then There Were None was of immediate interest to me. It's a tricky story where I was unable to solve the mystery (although to be honest, I rarely figure out the murderer in a Christie) but I had hopes for doing so in this case. Alas they were misguided as I was caught completely off-guard by the actual murderer after thinking it was someone else. But let's go back to the beginning.

This book gathers ten teens together for a weekend with a raging party. Although not everyone knows each other, those who do have simmering tensions. Best friends Meg and Minnie both have a crush on popular boy TJ whose best friend Gunner used to date Minnie. Gunner's new girlfriend is also there as are a few more kids. But Meg is our main character although she does not narrate in first person, which kept throwing me. I am so used to YA main characters narrating that I often struggle to connect with third-person narration. This was the case here although I think the plot itself also helped with my disconnect. As the story turns dark, everyone is potentially a murderer and who wants to identify with a murderer?

So while I didn't connect with the characters, I did really appreciate the atmospheric setting. They're on a basically deserted island without power during a massive storm, which served to ratchet up the tension. I'm not usually one to notice the setting but it was very evocative here.

One last item to mention is something that also bothered me about the original book-I am just so uncomfortable with this vigilante justice. The murderer firmly believes in his/her cause, which would likely not be prosecuted had legal means been pursued but I hate the idea of a person deciding to claim their own justice through such means. It's the nature of the story but I really hate it.

Overall: Not at all character driven but full of suspense for fans of such.


  1. I had a hard time connecting with the characters as well.

    Gretchen McNeil really aced the setting, the island was so creepy!

    Glad you liked Ten!

  2. It's funny how we both like Agatha Christie, but I had the exact opposite reaction to you for this book! Still, I agree with you about the vigilante justice thing--as satisfying as it might feel in the moment, it's not the best course of action. I'm glad you enjoyed!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. Loved the setting, loved the mystery. I didn't guess the killer either and I had also read the original!


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