Ten by Gretchen McNeil – Reviewed by Naomi Bates

Ten by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, 2012)

Meg and Minnie have been friends forever, but this is the chance to break into that inner circle at school they’ve always wanted to be a part of. An exclusive invitation to join a party over the weekend at the elite Henry Island, located outside of Seattle, was given to them and a select other few

There are rules to the invitation thought.  Each person invited is instructed not to tell anyone about this party.  Meg, the reserved of the two friends, isn’t quite sure this is a good plan, especially lying to her parents, but Minnie, the opposite of Meg, thinks it wildly exciting, especially when she finds out that TJ is also on the guest list. After a perilous ride in a ferry to the island, they see people they know and some they don’t.  Then the worst happens… a storm blows in and cuts out all electrictricity on the island.  Coincidentally, or perhaps not, this happens right after the group watch a strange and creepy DVD (think the video in the movie The Ring) and these words appear,

“Vengeance is mine; I will repay.
For the time when their foot shall slide.
For the day of their disaster is near.
And their doom comes swiftly.”

The next morning, one of the ten invited is found dead.  Then another….then another….Accident or murder?  More importantly, who is doing this and why?  Everyone is suspect and there is now everyone is taking into account who the murderer could be. This only adds fuel to the chaos and creates an even more dangerous situation for all involved.  The murderer is looking for something like this to happen and  he or she won’t stop until the last one is dead…

This book, although not quite up to Christie’s literary standards, has the potential to steal the reader’s attention and try to figure out if there is such a thing as true coincidences.  Based loosely on Agatha Christies And Then There Were None, McNeil write in true mystery style, where any of the characters are suspect and the twist isn’t revealed until the very end.  Although it may be tempting to find out who the true murderer is, don’t read the ending beforehand because the revelation will completely astound the reader, as a true and well-written mystery should.  The characters McNeil creates holds this novel together in perfect syncopation from the friendships that form and the deceit and enmity that begins to take place.

Highly recommended for any library collection.  Recommended 7-12th grade

If you like this book, then you’ll like:  Wish You Were Dead trilogy by Todd Strasser;  The Mickey Bolitar series from Harlan Coben;  Sleepless and The Unspoken by Thomas Fahy

Naomi Bates is a teacher librarian at Northwest High School in Justin Texas.  She considers herself a librarian with a twist of technology, keeping the  balance between books and technology, because whichever one your choose, reading still matters.  Naomi was named state library media specialist of the year from TCEA, and was also one of five librarians in the nation chosen for the new leaders program by Cengage Learning and SLJ. She has served on various committees for the Texas Library Association including chair of the Texas Association for School Librarians.  Naomi has an active blog, YA Books and More, focusing on technology and reading.  You can follow her on Twitter @yabooksandmore.