Day 17: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Summary From Goodreads:
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?
Ten is a tough book to review for me. As I was reading through the first part of the book all I could think was “man this is playing out like a cheesy horror movie” which is not a fantastic way to start. I kept reading anyway and though it really was pretty cheesy almost all the way through I still enjoyed it for the most part.
The characters are a bit iffy for me. Meg is a bit too dependent/obsessed with T.J. for my taste. She’s all over him from the get go despite constantly saying how she needs to avoid him since her best friend loves him too, yet she keeps being drawn to him like there is some invisible force making her. It’s a tad annoying to say the least. T.J., however, I do like. He’s genuine, a bit over-the-top-perfect but not so much as to be irritating (or to warrant Meg’s obsessive tendencies) and he feels the most real out of all of the characters. Minnie is probably the worst. She has a lot of problems to be sure, but she still flip flops like crazy, more so then is reasonable even with someone with issues like she has, and her swings are erratic at best and badly timed at worst. The minor characters are over-simplified and stereotypical as well, especially Kenny and Nathan. I’m not even going to get started on those two.
The plot as I said earlier does feel like a cheesy horror movie is going on. They even make references to horror films in the book, it’s just…ugh. If it weren’t for those elements, mostly in the beginning of the book, I think I’d really like this story. The pacing is great, you will fly through the book and never feel like you aren’t engaged or there isn’t something new to discover. The ending saves it to be honest. There are enough twists to make it interesting, and although some of the very end scenes I could do without, they are worth reading the whole book to get to.
McNeil definitely can paint a picture. The setting feels real and like you are actually there with them, the horrors inside are well set up and the descriptions are impressively done. The scene if you will, is set beautifully and you can feel the dreariness and the dread that the characters all feel because of it. The world building in this area doesn’t feel overdone in the slightest, and though you have to come up with a lot of factors to keep them isolated it doesn’t feel forced either. Easily my favorite part of the book.
Overall it was a good story that felt like it could have been better if it wasn’t seeming to draw from old horror flicks so much. I’m not saying that was her inspiration, I don’t know what was, but it felt like it and that was unfortunate. The setting and the ending, as well as T.J. kept the book interesting enough for me to continue and the excellent pacing helped move me along through the parts I didn’t feel inclined to read. A solid book. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for day 18! ^.^