Ten by Gretchen McNeil

“Ten teens. Three days. One killer.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives–an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.

With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”

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Most of the time, I’m disappointed in books. It is a sad, but true statement. I think it is the product of too much anticipation, too much hype, too much imagination of how good a book could actually be. I need to work on that because when I’m not expecting as much I might find myself very pleasantly surprised.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil came out of nowhere. Maybe I scoffed at it because it was about teens. Maybe I didn’t expect much because it sounded like a 90’s horror movie rip-off. Who knows what I was thinking. In any event, Ten was better than expected.

This book isn’t going to win awards or go down in history as the best… whatever.. there ever was. What it will do, however, is give you an engrossing read with three-dimensional characters that you come to care about. And they’re teenagers! Who would’ve thought?

You will find the jock, the smart girl, the artsy chick, the crazy chick, the sensitive guy, etc. But Gretchen McNeil has taken those stereotypical roles and made them diverse and genuine. With 10 teenagers due to kick the bucket in 2 short days, we don’t spend an excessive amount of time with some of them, but it’s still time well spent.

The story is told in third person limited with the focus on young writer, Meg. Because of this, the reader doesn’t experience any death scenes in real time. The result is a watered down horror novel, not necessarily a bad thing if it truly is geared toward a younger crowd. As an avid horror reader though, I could have handled a bit more brutality. Still, the killer’s backstory and the reader’s shifting suspicions are handled really well.

Now, Ten was recently released as a Lifetime movie. If I were you, I’d opt for the book. Admittedly, I don’t care for most of Lifetime’s lineup, but its production of Ten left quite a bit to be desired. I DNF’d the Lifetime version.