(Image from Barnes & Noble)
UCLA-bound Meg Pritchard really isn't much for parties. She'd rather spend her time writing in a quiet corner than drinking beer or singing karaoke. So, when Meg gets an exclusive invitation to a secret 3-day bash at the lake house of the most popular girl in school, she's not as thrilled as she probably should be. Her best friend, on the other hand, couldn't be more excited. Minnie can't stop talking about the upcoming party—and T.J. Fletcher, the gorgeous football player who will no doubt be there. Meg's got a bad feeling about the whole thing, but there's no way she can let Minnie go alone. No one at school is aware that Minnie has bi-polar disorder, no one else knows what to do when it gets bad. Only Meg. And then there's T.J.; Minnie's not the only one who's interested in spending three days getting to know him better ...
As Meg and Minnie cross the Puget Sound on a chartered ferry in the middle of a storm, Meg's reluctance turns to fear. The girls have both lied to their parents about where they're spending the weekend—if something happens to them, no one will know until it's too late. Meg's reassured when she arrives at the island and meets the nine other teens at the party. Their hostess hasn't arrived yet, but T.J. has, which makes Meg think maybe the weekend won't be a total loss.
Then, the partygoers find a mysterious DVD, one that makes a chilling promise: Vengeance is mine. The kids try to laugh it off, but it quickly becomes clear that the message is no joke. As the guests in the lake house disappear one by one, the survivors realize just how cut off they really are. With the storm still raging, they have no power, no phone reception, no internet and no safe way to get home. They're stuck on a remote island with a vicious killer who has reason to want every single one of them dead.
If you've read And Then There Were None, then Ten, a new YA novel by Gretchen McNeil, will offer few surprises. Which is a real bummer since the story had the potential to be a very clever and compelling update of Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery. Unfortunately, Ten is just so-so—maybe not even that. While McNeil creates an appropriately atmospheric setting, she populates it with too many characters, few of whom are individual enough to really stand out. I couldn't keep track of who was who and, since I didn't feel like I really knew anyone but Meg, I didn't care all that much when the others died. As for plot, it pretty much follows And Then There Were None, making few original detours. Add in bumpy writing, poor editing, and an overall depressing storyline and, you get a book that could have been a whole lot better. I'm all for putting a modern twist on classic novels—as long as it's done well. This one needed work.
If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for language, sexual innuendo, violence and depictions of underage drinking/partying
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Ten from the generous folks at HarperCollins. Thank you!