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Review: TEN by Gretchen McNeil

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and 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?

TEN by Gretchen McNeil is the perfect throwback to a type of teen horror that was popular in the eighties and nineties--it’s not supernatural or sentimental; it’s not overly gory or deeply psychological. TEN promises and delivers that pure roller coaster, thrill-a-minute, watch-your-back, killer-on-the-loose, didn't-see-that-coming kind of horror. And it's fun.

Somewhat based on Agatha Christie’s classic AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (which has an interesting history behind it, having been published originally as TEN LITTLE NIGGERS in the UK and later, TEN LITTLE INDIANS in the US), McNeil's TEN follows Meg, a bright introspective girl who’s always been tasked with putting the feelings of BFF Minnie ahead of her own. When the two of them head out to Henry Island for a weekend-long party with eight other teens and no adult supervision, Meg is torn between wanting to keep the wild Minnie under control and exploring her romantic interest in handsome football star, TJ. However, hookups and partying soon fall by the wayside as the body count begins to pile up, and Meg must solve the mystery behind a vengeful killer before her own number is up.

Once the first body is discovered, TEN is non-stop action (and non-stop death). McNeil does an excellent job pushing the pace along while managing a sizeable cast of characters. The dialogue is snappy and smart, and the clues, red herrings, and mystery behind the killer's motives unfold in a creepy, satisfying way that keeps you guessing to the end.

TEN debuts on September 18th from Balzer + Bray. Check back on the YA Highway this Wednesday for additional TEN fun. You can also find out more about the book here and catch up with Gretchen in any of the following places:

Stephanie Kuehn

Stephanie is the William C. Morris award-winning author of Charm & Strange, Complicit, Delicate Monsters, and The Smaller Evil.

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  1. Ooh this one sounds exciting, I'm going to have to keep a look out for it!

  2. I've had my eyes on Ten for a while so I'm glad it'll be released soon! I love the sound of it and the idea that it's a take on The Agatha Christie novel!

  3. Sounds fantastic! I've gone ahead and pre-ordered it. I have a feeling that I'll love this. :)

  4. This sounds amazing :D I loved the novel it´s based on...Pre-ordered!

  5. I've had my eye out for this one ever since I saw the premise. Awesome! Of course, having read the Agatha Christie version, I'll have an idea about the ending in advance ... but it will be fun to see if it's resolved the same way.

  6. Oh this sounds good. I'm going to preorder it now.

  7. I didn't realize this was loosely based on an Agatha Christie novel. I've been looking forward to this one for awhile. It might be the perfect read to dive back into YA after I finish GONE GIRL. :)


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Item Reviewed: Review: TEN by Gretchen McNeil Rating: 5 Reviewed By: stephanie kuehn