Author: Gretchen McNeil | Website
Publication Date:September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Interest: Hype, Retelling
Age Group | Genre: YA | Thriller, Horror
When I was in high school, I was obsessed with horror stories. Fear Street wasn’t just something I read around Halloween. I mean… I went through a phase. So when I discovered Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, my thriller/horror fix was complete. It easily became one of my favorite novels in the genre. You have no idea how excited I was when I heard about Ten, and found out that it was a retelling of Christie’s classic novel. After reading it though… I remembered a few things about 90’s thrillers that I just don’t fancy anymore.
Except for “And Then There was Shawn.” Best episode of Boy Meets World ever!
Best friends Meg and Minnie are ready to have the most fabulous weekend of their lives–a house party on Henry Island with the popular kids?! Yes please! Three days of luxury, glorious time with boys, and probably booze are definitely on their schedule. Especially when Meg realizes her crush, T.J., is there. It’s only perfect that Minnie runs into a hot blonde, Ben, and he takes a liking to her. Both girls paired with guys means it’s time to bring on the party! That is until the teens start dying one by one.
First there’s the DVD discovery where a sinister message– Vengence is Mine– leaves the teens shaken. Then a raging storm shows up and not only knocks out the power, but leaves all ten teens stranded on the island. As slashes show up on the wall marking each violent murder, Meg begins to wonder if she can figure out who the killer is before the body count gets out of hand. Unless, of course, she realizes the murderer is one of them?
Last week, Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner and I had a mini discussion about Ten seeing as how both of our 90’s selves were horror aficionados. It sort of went something like this:
Jamie’s review in a nutshell: I enjoyed it but it wasn’t ground-breaking to the genre; almost stayed true to the ‘formula.’
My comment: I forgot how cliched teen horror stories were! I figured this one out waaaay too soon.
Jamie’s reply: YES! Maybe if I went back and read all of those [Stine/Pike novels] I’d be kind of eye rolly about things like I was with this.
Final realization: 90’s Jamie and 90’s Cait were secretly thrilled and complete while Jamie and Cait today….not so much.
Now, I’m not saying Ten wasn’t good because in fact, I enjoyed the read. It brought me back to my teen years and it was the perfect pick for Halloween. It was just… eye rolly.
As Jamie said in her review, a lot of the teen slasher books seem to follow a sort of formula (just like romance novels follow a formula) and you know, it honestly works. I can just tell that I have progressed in my reading since I was 15 and scaring the crap out of myself. As I was reading Ten, I knew exactly what was going to happen, so I was never scared. For me, the plot was easily predictable, but for you it might not be.
As for the characters, they were underdeveloped with is a standard ploy in horror stories. If a character is going to get axed right away, there isn’t much point in getting to know them. But with the main characters, Meg and Minnie, we do get a back story and a glimpse into their friendship. I enjoyed how their friendship was slowly divulged to us because it made the lead up to the end that much more significant.
And Then There Were None is a bookshelf favorite of mine, and since Ten is a well-done retelling, I sort of knew the storyline–which is probably a big helper in how I figured out the killer. I give McNeil major props on the retelling aspect, though. Minus of course the teen romance, she follows the original plot line fairly well. I absolutely love how she took a well-known horror classic and revamped it. Though it is a thorough retelling, it also very much stands on it’s own.
Simply because I’m just not a fan of the cliche, formulaic stories anymore, I have to rate this one a 2. It’s a good, creepy Halloween read, but borrow it from the library. The teens also use a little language–the fbomb is dropped a couple of times–and despite the reality of the situation (if you were being hunted down, would you be cursing?) I’m not a fan of that word being used in booksl. It makes it hard to keep on the classroom shelf. If you’re a fan of horror–aka you love R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike–pick up this novel. You won’t be disappointed.
If you like this novel, you might like….
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han
League of Strays by L. B. Schulman
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]