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Review: Ten (McNeil)

AUTHOR: Gretchen McNeil
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: September 18, 2012
ISBN: 9780062118783
PAGES: 296
SOURCE: purchased ebook
GENRE: mystery, horror
SETTING: island off the coast of Washington state
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS

SUMMARY: Ten teens are invited via FaceBook to an exclusive and secret weekend party at an island mansion. But the fun sours quickly when they find a creepy DVD threatening revenge, the power and phones go out, and the dead bodies start piling up. Based on Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None.

WHAT I LIKED: This book has been on my TBR pile since it came out in 2012, and I am so glad I finally got around to reading it. I loved And Then There Were None, and a modern day retelling with teens as the ten murder victims sounds way too good to pass up.

Librarians, you MUST have this book in your library if you serve teens. When I see classes in the library, I always start by telling students what I am currently reading. Based on their reactions to my book talking Ten, I am definitely going to need to order more copies! My students are so excited to read this book AND the classic novel it’s based on. Win-win!

Give this book to readers who like movies like Friday the Thirteenth and Scream. It reads like a classic 80s horror film, complete with horny teens who stupidly separate from the group, teens who deny there is a killer out there, teens who are neither nice nor innocent. You have a creepy mansion, no electricity or phones, stormy weather, and no adults. There’s a disturbing video and an even more disturbing diary of a dead girl. Do I really need to say more about why this will be a hit with teen readers? Wow.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: While I love the premise and set-up of this book, it was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Chalk it up to too-high expectations, but I did get bored with the story at times. I got annoyed with the characters, including Meg, the protagonist. Because I didn’t really like them, I didn’t particularly feel anything when they were murdered one-by-one.

The confession from the killer at the end is a bit Scooby-Doo. It’s one of those “I’m going to kill you right after I tell you my whole plot” kind of endings that always feels like info-dump. I would think a real murderer would just get it done and move on to the next person. The only thing I didn’t understand with the murderer’s whole plot is what he/she thinks is going to happens after all the murders are complete? Where will this person go? For a plot so meticulously planned out, it seems like the “after” would be an important part of the plan, too.

THE BOTTOM LINE: With an appealing front cover, an easy-to-booktalk premise, and a fantastic book trailer, Ten is a must for any high school or public library. It will also help generate interest in And Then There Were None and other Agatha Christie novels.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. I am certain this will get lots of checkouts!

READALIKES: And Then There Were None (Christie); The Unquiet (Garsee)


  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Characters: 2/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: medium-high–contains several sh** and fu**
  • Sexuality: medium–casual teen “hook ups” (nothing described)
  • Violence: high–this is a murder mystery, after all–a lot of murders with blood and gore
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild-medium–teens drink alcohol
  • Other: suicide is central to plot

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