McNeil, Gretchen. Ten. Balzer + Bray. 2012. ISBN 0062118781 (Note: This was an advanced review copy)
Reader’s Annotation: The exclusive party on Henry Island was supposed to be a last hurrah before best friends, Meg and Minnie, go their separate ways as Meg goes away to Los Angeles for college. One by one people start dying and Meg must figure out who the killer is before she and Minnie are the next victims.
Plot Summary: this story is a retelling of Agatha Christie’s book And Then There Were None. Meg and Minnie are best friends but Meg will soon be going to Los Angeles for college and Minnie will be staying behind. Their friendship has become strained through Minnie’s emotional issues that make Meg feel strangled by their friendship at times and the fact that Meg and Minnie are in love with the same boy. Hopes that this party will be a great chance to have a last bit of fun are dashed when a girl commits suicide (or so they thought) and then slowly the body count begins to increase. Meg must figure out who the murderer is but is there anyone she can truly trust on the island?
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s book And Then There Were None and it creeped the pants off of me and had me guessing what would happen in the end all through out the story. Ten was an enjoyable read but not quite on the same level. Happily it is not a straight retelling of the story and McNeil adds her own flavor to the story like basing the deaths off of a teen’s diary instead of the children’s nursery rhyme.
Meg’s character is very likeable and you can’t help but feel sorry for what she goes through out of loyalty towards Minnie. Meg is introverted and is forever grateful to Minnie for befriending her even to the point where Minnie is ostracized from her own group of friends. Still you can’t blame Meg for wanting to break away and have a life of her own. The rest of the characters were harder to like but that was fitting for the storyline.
For those who enjoy thrillers and mysteries this is a great read and those who have not read Agatha Christie’s book before will probably enjoy this one even more.
About the author
Gretchen McNeil published her debut book, Possess, a YA paranormal story in August 2011. Ten is her second novel which is due out in the Fall 2012. In addition to writing McNeil also sings and is currently singing with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk according to her author page on Goodreads.
She is also the voice of Mary on the G4 show Code Monkeys and is active on vlogs and blogs such as YARebels, The Enchanted Inkpot and The Apocalypsies.
Book talking idea
The parallels and differences from And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
Ages 14 and up.
Why did I include this book?
And Then There Were None was a classic thriller/suspense read and this sounded like a great way to introduce a whole new generation of readers to the story line. Personally I was curious to see how well it would be done and if the retelling would contain any original elements.