Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Book Title/Author: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Horror
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: Possess

Amazon| Goodreads |Gretchen McNeil’s Website

I received this for review from the publisher. This did not sway my opinions in any way.


Best friends Meg & Minnie are invited to the super exclusive weekend house party thrown by one of the most popular girls at school. As they arrive at the party at her vacation home on Henry Island, they are immediately whisked into the fun by Meg’s crush TJ — a boy she has a secret history with & that Minnie has been in love with — and Ben — a hot friend of the hostess who Minnie clings to right away. As the party gets started and the friends start having fun, it takes a turn to the sinister upon discovering a creepy video that threatens the ten party-goers. When the body count starts climbing and they find themselves with no electricity or way of getting off the island, everyone is on edge with the video’s threats in mind and starts turning on each other. Can Meg figure out the killer before it’s too late? Is it someone they know or is it somebody else that wasn’t at the party?

Please understand that all I read during my middle school years was RL Stine and Christopher Pike along with some other horror books. I love the horror genre but have really neglected it these days. Ten by Gretchen McNeil excites me in the same way that those books did. I love a good scary slasher-y story where I’m changing my mind every couple of pages of who the killer is and the big twisted WHY. It was everything I loved about those books and movies like Scream & I Know What You Did Last Summer — which every teen in the 90’s loved despite wanting to pee their pants and learned that you ALWAYS, ALWAYYYYS MAKE SURE THE BADDIE IS DEAD LEST THEY REACH OUT AND TRY TO GRAB YOU AGAIN!

The thing I loved most about Ten by Gretchen McNeil is how she kept me guessing the whole way through. I had so many theories swirling about my head and pointed the guilty finger at just about every character at the party and invented scenarios in which it could be someone outside of the party. I seriously had a BALL trying to figure out who the killer was and WHY they did it. But you know what, I did NOT guess that ending nor who it was…though I initially had my suspicions of who it was but they were fleeting so SHOCKER. I went back and read the part where I suspected that person and MAN, I was SO CLOSE. Because of this crazy guessing game I devoured this like a hungry animal but it also helped that Gretchen McNeil created some really gruesome (albeit not graphic) death scenes and crazy tension-filled situations where you just didn’t know what to expect. Props to her writing for setting the scene of the creepy house & creepy island!

I think that, while it satiated my love for a quick horror story, that it really just stayed on par with the 100’s of teen horror novels I read in the 90’s…it never rose above those. What I mean is that I enjoyed it but it wasn’t ground-breaking to the genre; almost stayed true to the “formula”. There were a lot of times where it clung very close to the cliched tropes in teen slasher type horror and, like those books for me, I really never thought the characterization wasn’t that great — seriously, lots of cliches and unlikeable characters who you never end up caring about (some because they just die so soon naturally). They are books that I really enjoy and devour quickly but most of them blend in. I think they are great for quick, fun (?) reads that give you a little bit of a fright but that’s where it stayed. Also, I have to say I thought sometimes the reactions of the characters and the things they were thinking of and talking about in the midst of a big slaying of their friends were just so strange to me. Rather than being worried about a boy I’d be worried about not DYING so maybe I could like enjoy a boy again. JUST SAYING.

I also hear that this was based on an Agatha Christie novel (And Then There Were None) and that if you LOVED that novel you might have a hard time with this one. I can’t compare Ten to that since never having read And Then There Were None so that wasn’t a problem for me.

If you loved books from RL Stine & Christopher Pike or movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer when you were a teen, then I think you’ll enjoy Ten by Gretchen McNeil. It’s got all the riveting action and pulse-racing tension with a body count and the ability to keep you guessing until the very end. It was a good read but not stand-out in the genre for me. It wasn’t honestly that scary; more mysterious than anything. It was a perfect start to my Halloween reading binge nonetheless and begged to be compulsively read for the action & the mystery of WHO the killer was and WHY he or she was after them.


For Fans Of: YA horror, slasher films like Scream & I Know What You Did Last Summer, Christopher Pike & RL Stine books from the 90’s


Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Were you able to guess the killer? What other horror novels do you recommend? And I HAVE TO KNOW…were you huge Christopher Pike or RL Stine fans like me??

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Great review! I loved all those teen horror books back in the 90s, and I’m excited to read Ten! 🙂

    • Excited to see what you think! I think it fits well in that grouping. I was sad that it didn’t quite stand out enough in the genre and played into a lot of the same cliches but..still had fun reading it and props to her for keeping me guessing and so engaged.

  2. It’s always great when there’s plenty to keep you guessing, but the author is always just ahead of you! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, it’s sounding more and more appealing to me with every review.
    I miss Goosebumps… even the opening credits of the show were creepy!

    • Yes! I am ALWAYS the type that figures out who the killer was and is pretty certain and has it all figured out WHY. But this one..NOPE. For a moment I suspected this person but than didn’t. I guess my initial inclinations were right but I never was able to fully piece it together! SO CLOSE!

      Yeah..loved Goosebumps. My fave were his more YA books. Especially the Fear Street books. SO GOOD.

  3. I was so excited to read this one but then I started Possess and just couldn’t get into it. It killed my excitement. I’m still on the fence about it. I do love me some 80’s slasher movies though.

    • Possess looks so interesting so I’m sad to hear it wasn’t working! Yeah, if you read this, just go into it not expecting really anything new. But it satiated 90’s Jamie love for a quick slashery guessing game of who the baddie was.

  4. I JUST finished this last night , and have been prepping my review for next week. Without giving much away, I wasn’t as thrilled with the book when I finished as I was when I started. I was a huge Stine/Pike fan in the 90’s too….and I think now that I’m older, I had forgotten how cliche they were 🙂 But when i was young, that’s what made them so good. I figure this one out way too soon 🙁

    • YES! That was exactly what I was saying to my husband about it. That maybe if I went back and read all of those I’d be kind of eye rolly about things like I was with this. I think that’s why I try to explain it that 90’s Jamie was thrilled but I can’t say it stood out…just kind of blended in with all of those other types of books I used to read and I SO wish it rose above it.

  5. Hi 🙂 I like the styled book photo shoot above. Well done! Mysterious but not scary… I felt the same way about Adele Griffin’s Tighter. Have you read that? She kept me guessing the whole time but I was very freaked out or scared. (I liked that, btw. You should check it out.)

    Thanks for the review. Ten has been on my list and I hope to get to it before 2015 😉

    • Haha thanks! Oooh I totally own Tighter so maybe I’ll pick that up sooner rather than later!

      Hope you enjoy Ten! Just go into it knowing that it’s a quick slasher-y mystery similar to those 90’s horror type books. Cliches abound and there isn’t really anything that makes it stand out above the rest but it was one that you’ll fly through because she is SO talented at keeping you guessing and engaged.

  6. I just placed a hold on this book at my local library :). I’ve been reading so much about this in the blogging world recently and even when I read a short synopsis I immediately thought of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (which I have read and truly to recommend! It was the first mystery/Agatha Christie novel I ever read and it was NOT a disappointment!). Even though I loved Christie’s novel, I want to give this one a chance. I need to read something scary for Halloween season!

  7. When it comes to horror in the YA genre, I now compare everything to I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. In my opinion, that is a straight-up SCARY book and really well-written. I did enjoy Ten and thought it had some great qualities, but it just wasn’t quite as scary as I hoped it would have been. Maybe I’m not as big of a wuss as I thought lol?

  8. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for a while now. It sounds absolutely thrilling, and your review made me want to read this even more. I received a copy for review and hope to get to to soonish!!! ( And I’ll probably want to read this in a brightly lit room in the middle of the day since I’m a scaredy cat. XD )

  9. As you know, I’m a HUGE R.L. Stine fan and conversely, Scream is one of my top slasher films, so yeah. I think I’m going to like this book. I do, however, love the book (and film) And Then There Were None. I’ll certainly try to go into Ten with an open mind and do my best not to compare it to the original version. It’s nice to hear that it’s a throwback to the 90’s horror we both loved so much!

  10. I had so much fun with this book as well. It was great trying to figure out who the killer was, and you’re right I did not expect that ending at all! I’m glad you enjoyed it and it took you back to your teen years.

  11. I LOVED this book! Unlike you, I had never read any R.L Stine or similar books when I was younger. I didn’t even know English! So to me, it was unique and super exciting. Great review, I agree that the book kept me turning the pages like a crazy woman because I just wanted to know who the killer was. That’s what I enjoyed the most. 🙂

  12. I have a feeling that this book is honestly going to FREAK ME OUT. For one thing, I could not sleep properly for WEEKS after watching I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and I am pretty sure it was also what has jumpstarted my crazy fear of knives. EEP!

    But the thing is – it sounds like it would be so much fun to read. So, even though I’m pretty sure I’ll never read it at night, I’m definitely going to give this one a try!

  13. Oh my gosh, I was like 90s Jamie. Hi, I’m 90s Quinn, and I read RL Stine’s YA books. And nothing else!

    I have Ten at home. I think I might try to read it soon. I also checked out two RL Stine books today from the library: The Babysitter and Secret Admirer. I can’t wait to try RL Stine again after all this time.

  14. After reading your review, I won’t be reading this one, because I love And Then There Were None, and you’re right, this sounds exactly like it. You definitely need to read the Agatha Christie book. You’ll enjoy it! When I was teaching seventh grade, it was required reading for our honors students. It was very rare that any of them did not like it. It is a great mystery novel. It’s a pretty quick read, too.

  15. love this review. i have been dying to read this book . and you are so right.. when i watch a scary movie, and they ” think ” they killed the bad guy they never do! have they not learned anything over the years “double tap” < — thats the rule in Zombieland . when you think they are dead.. go the extra mile and shoot them in the head.. just for good measure.

    i was a huge fan of goosebumps when i was younger.. and i don't know what happened down the road, but i haven't read as many thrillers these days, definitely not like it used to.. so i am super excited to read this book, i loved "and then there was one" and "ten little indians" but if you have nextlix i 100% recommend you check out "harpers island " on there.. same kind of plot , but sounds more like TEN. thanks for the great review!

    Katie @ Inkk

  16. Word. I went through the horror phase too. I agree with what you said about Ten not rising above, like it was a good quick read, but not exactly groundbreaking.

    I do recommend that you read the original, And Then There Were None, because that book is fricken a BAMF.

  17. I want to read this! I’m also thinking about having a horror themed for halloween on my blog. But halloween is a long way off.



  1. […] week, Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner and I had a mini discussion about Ten seeing as how both of our 90′s selves were horror […]

  2. […] honest…I’ll probs tire of it after a while). This one sounds so good and from reading Ten by Gretchen McNeil I know she does suspense well SO […]