Ten by Gretchen McNeil

11958033Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Length: 296 pages
Genera: Horror
Subjects: Islands, Serial Killers, Mystery
How I obtained the book: 
Library; hardcover

Rating: 

SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
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?

I had absolutely no expectations when it came to Ten. I’ve passed by it numerous times over the past two years, but for some reason, I’ve just never picked it up even though I always tell myself that ‘today’s the day’. Now though, I want to go back in time and forcibly make Past!Lisbeth read this book sooner because it is awesome.

Thrillers are fantastic. The fast paced action scenes can be often exhilarating and enjoyable. I’ve always enjoyed reading horror novels and watching movies about serial killers, but YA thrillers have never been my thing. In most books, the pacing is wrong and the story just isn’t scary at all. I just never really cared about the story or what would happen – which is a sign of a really, really bad thriller. I’ve never been so invested in a thriller novel as I was with Ten.

Before you start Ten, you kind of have to accept that, yes, Ten is cliched but it’s intentional. McNeil made the slightly trite plotline work for her, however. 

It’s based off of an older horror story. Yes, the twists aren’t too surprising and the overall story reminds you a lot of old horror flicks but you know what, it works. I don’t know how the author did it but the tropes that I’d find mind numbing and horrible weren’t nearly as awful as they should have been.

McNeil somehow turned the old horror tropes on their heads and Ten is honestly scary at times. I really wanted to find out who the hell was the murderer. The red herrings were well placed and the atmosphere was beautifully crafted.

Talking about the atmosphere, the deserted island was a beautiful setting for this book. The constant sense of isolation and dread was all but palpable. Every murder added to the feeling of loneliness and complete foreboding. With each twist, I could honestly feel my heart drop for a second. It was so easy to get sucked into the world of Ten and completely forget about anything other than the book.

The characters weren’t too complicated or developed but the novel didn’t really call for it. There are just some novels where you have to let this slide. Ten was a plot driven novel, really relying on its good atmosphere to keep it going. It’s not meant to have complex characters – it’s meant to scare the shit out of you.

I really loved Ten. It’s not a masterpiece but it’s really good horror, especially for YA. YA is terrible at horror (I don’t know why – maybe the publishers are scared that the parents will sue???) but McNeil obviously knew what they were doing. I would definitely recommend this book! Make sure to read it at night – preferably alone – for maximum effect.

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