Ten

Ten

4.3 78
by Gretchen McNeil
     
 

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It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect

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Overview

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get. Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for days. 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 ever imagined?

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Don’t expect to put it down once you’ve picked it up.”
Nancy Holder
“Gretchen McNeil’s TEN is my new number one! I jumped at every creaking floorboard in my house and on the page. This is sure to be a teen thriller classic!”
Christopher Pike
“TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat.”
Kimberly Derting
Praise for POSSESS: “With demons, secrets, and a butt-kicking heroine, POSSESS is a whole lotta dark and twisted fun!”
Courtney Allison Moulton
Praise for POSSESS: “”A dark, unique, and intelligent novel with frightening twists around every corner that left me breathless.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Don’t expect to put it down once you’ve picked it up.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Don't expect to put it down once you've picked it up.”
ALA Booklist
Praise for POSSESS: “McNeil strikes a fine balance between outright scares and sarcastic humor…[a] light, entertaining read.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Don’t expect to put it down once you’ve picked it up.”

Publishers Weekly
Agatha Christie meets Gossip Girl when a group of high school students are stranded on an island in McNeil’s (Possess) throwback to old-school thrillers. Friends Meg and Minnie are two of 10 disparate teenagers invited to an exclusive party on Henry Island in Washington State, along with Minnie’s ex, Gunner, and Meg’s former crush, T.J. Things turn sinister when they lose contact with the outside world, and people start dying. As their numbers dwindle, it’s soon clear that each teen is there for a purpose, and the killer has an agenda. The tension rises with each symbolically gruesome death, especially as evidence surfaces to implicate one of them as the murderer. Clearly inspired by Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but updated to account for modern technology and sensibilities, McNeil’s story also has all the hallmarks of a traditional slasher flick, including imprudent sex, gory slayings, and dramatic revelations. The string of deaths means some characters never get much development, and the romantic angle is fairly predictable, but the claustrophobic setting and classic horror feints and twists still do the trick. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
VOYA - Juli Henley
Meg and Minnie, two best friends, lie to their parents to escape for a weekend of high school partying with boys and booze. The exclusive homes and remoteness of the area turn from appealing to terrifying as a storm blows in knocking out power and any connection with the outside world. Ten high school students are picked off and killed one by one. The story is frightening in parts, yet written in a juvenile fashion which is difficult to understand at times. A fast, scary read that will give readers chills, yet make them pause to reread a section for clarity. This book will appeal to those reading at a lower level who enjoy a good scare. Reviewer: Juli Henley
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A beach house, 10 teenagers, no parents, and the promise of a weekend-long party: friends Meg and Minnie embrace the exclusive invitation, despite the fact that neither of the girls is close to the host. But a storm is brewing on Henry Island. The wind is howling, the rain is pouring, and the local ferry won't be back until morning. Then people start dying. A creepy DVD warns the teens of their imminent demise, and red hash marks on the wall tally the deaths as the guests' guilty secrets are exposed and they're picked off one by one. In the end, it is up to Meg to save herself and figure out who is killing her friends and why. Though character development and motivation are a bit weak, McNeil's novel nicely parallels Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None (originally titled Ten Little Indians in the United States), and is likewise a quick-paced thriller full of half-facts and red herrings that take readers through the twists and turns of a deadly weekend. While it might not be considered an amazing teen mystery, among the numerous adaptations and stories that borrow from Christie's 1939 novel, McNeil's book holds its own.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A scary gorefest of murder and mayhem, not for the faint of heart. High school best friends Meg and Minnie join a weekend-long, alcohol-infused party on a small island off the coast of Washington. Their parents think they're elsewhere; in fact no one knows they're there except the ferry crew and the other eight attendees. A fierce storm is battering the island, and the power fails, plunging them into darkness and complete isolation from the rest of the world. Then teens start to turn up dead in rather gruesome, vividly depicted ways: hanged, impaled by driftwood (really!), electrocuted, etc. At first, it appears that the deaths could be caused by a bizarre combination of suicide and accident, but as the body count soars, the teens have to choose: Is one of them a serial killer, or is the murderer stalking them from beyond the group? Clues are just amorphous enough to sustain the mystery, and since mistakes are lethal, the suspense is high. Meanwhile, it also becomes obvious that some of the stereotypical teens share relationships that weren't apparent at first, i.e., Meg's far-overworked yearning to pair off with T.J., the handsome guy that unstable Minnie lusts for. For murder-mystery fans, there's more than enough horror and gore to sustain this effort (and several more), making for a breathless read. (Mystery/horror. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062118790
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/17/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
78,615
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Ten


By Gretchen McNeil

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2012 Gretchen McNeil
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-211878-3


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Minnie's face was deathly pale. She stared straight ahead, eyes fixed on the back of the stained cloth seat, and bit her bottom lip so hard that Meg was afraid she would draw blood. She'd never seen Minnie this seasick.

"Mins, are you okay?"

Minnie dug her fingernails into the seat cushion. "I'm fine."

"You're turning green."

The ferry rolled to the left as a particularly large swell hit them from starboard and Minnie clamped both hands over her mouth. For one tenuous moment, Meg was convinced her best friend was going to hurl right there in the passenger cabin, but as the boat slowly righted itself, Minnie relaxed.

"I'm fine," she repeated, lowering her hands.

"Uh-huh."

Meg rifled through her backpack and pulled out a plastic grocery bag, which Minnie absently took from her outstretched hand. "You don't think it'll be much longer, do you?"

Meg leaned against the cushion and propped her feet up on the facing row of seats. "I think we're almost there."

"Promise?"

Meg sighed. "I can't promise when the ferry will arrive, Mins. But according to the schedule, we're almost there, okay?"

"Fine!" Minnie snapped.

Meg recognized the sharpness in Minnie's voice. It usually signaled a rapid change in Minnie's mood, which happened all too frequently these days, especially when she stopped taking her antidepressants.

Instead of asking about her meds, which would just lead to an argument, Meg tried to get Minnie to think about something else. "Remember when your parents invited me to Friday Harbor?" Meg said. It had been the summer before high school, the first time Meg had been invited on vacation with Minnie's family. A hint of a smile broke the corner of Minnie's mouth. "You were so sick."

"Right?"

"You puked all over the bathroom in that ferry."

Meg laughed. "I thought your mom was going to throw me overboard."

"Me too." Minnie giggled.

Not one of Meg's favorite memories, but maybe it would keep Minnie's mind off her churning stomach. "And you weren't sick at all. So I'm sure you'll be fine 'til we get to Henry Island."

Minnie shook her head. "But that was summer. When the water's calm." Minnie gestured toward the double-paned window. "Not like this."

"Good point."

Meg gazed outside. The rain had died down for the moment - erratic water trails no longer zipped diagonally across the pane - but the wind, if anything, had intensified. It howled past the cabin, whipping from ahead, then slamming into the sides of the ferry with a force that seemed almost supernatural.

Minnie leaned her head against Meg's shoulder. "Maybe we shouldn't have come."

Meg couldn't suppress a laugh. "It's a bit late for that."

"I know, but ..."

"But what? This party is all you've talked about since we got the invites on Tuesday. I haven't seen you this excited about anything since your dad gave you an Amex card for your birthday." Minnie sat up straight. "Jessica Lawrence invited us to her house party. That's not an invitation you turn down, but ..." She sighed deeply. "I don't know. It's not like we're friends."

"You used to be," Meg said without thinking.

"Well, that was before -" Minnie stopped herself, but Meg knew what she was going to say: before you. "That was a long time ago," Minnie said instead.

The unspoken words hung in the air like stale cigarette smoke. Meg had been the reason for Minnie's fall from grace in the greater Seattle junior high social scene. They both knew it, but it was a touchy subject and one they rarely discussed. Minnie turned her head to the window and stared out into the darkening afternoon, and Meg instantly regretted even alluding to her friend's former closeness with Jessica.

To distract herself, Meg pulled a copy of the Facebook invite out of her backpack and read it over for the bazillionth time.

Shhh! Don't Spread the Word!

WHAT: Epic house party

WHEN: Presidents' Day weekend

WHERE: White Rock House on Henry Island

WHY: Because if you miss this party you'll regret it forever

Fully stocked house all to ourselves for three days. Like spring break in February! We've got special ferries set up and everything!!!!

But keep it quiet. We don't want just anybody showing up. Can't wait to see you there!

—Jess

Meg never felt comfortable at those kinds of parties; most of the time she just wanted to disappear into the wallpaper and pray that no one noticed her. But Minnie had been so excited. It was like an olive branch from the popular crowd. Meg couldn't say no. With any luck, she could find some quiet time alone, maybe wander the beaches by herself, find an isolated spot with her journal or her laptop and get some writing done.

A gust blasted the side of the ferry, rattling the cabin window. Meg sighed. Or maybe write in an isolated spot indoors? Like a broom closet or something? Stupid storm.

"Hey, I don't want you spending the whole weekend in front of your laptop," Minnie said from out of the blue.

Meg started. Was she really that predictable? "Um, okay." The plastic bag rustled as Minnie tightened her grip. "You're going to have fun this weekend if it kills me."

Meg bit her lip. "I have plenty of fun."

"You're kidding, right?"

Now it was Meg's turn to be annoyed. "Mins, what are you talking about?"

Minnie sighed dramatically. "You used to be fun. Remember?

We'd do crazy stuff. Now you're like ..."

Meg shifted in her seat. "Like what?"

"Like boring."

"I'm not boring."

Minnie snorted.

"Besides, we could've had fun at home. And not, you know, lied to our parents and gone to a house party on an island in the middle of nowhere."

Minnie threw up her hands. "It's not the middle of nowhere. Half of Seattle has summer homes on the San Juan Islands. And we were not going to tell our parents." Minnie finished with an emphatic nod of her head. "Especially not after that body was found in Everett this morning. Daddy would never have let me go." Meg shuddered. She'd seen the report on the news, the charred remains of a body found in the locker room of their rival school, Mariner High. It was a gruesome murder and so far the body hadn't been identified.

"The last thing I need this weekend," Minnie continued, "is Daddy dropping in to check up on me. That would ruin everything." "Yeah, I guess you're right." Despite the remoteness of the island, Meg couldn't help but agree that Minnie's dad showing up at the party wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

Minnie placed her hand over Meg's and squeezed. "Look, we're going to have fun this weekend. We need it. Okay?"

Meg forced a smile. Minnie was right. There had been such a strain between them the last few months. First Meg's acceptance at UCLA, which Minnie interpreted as Meg abandoning her, then Minnie's struggles with her new medications. And of course the Homecoming night debacle ...

Stop it, Meg said to herself. She needed to put that night out of her mind. It was over and done. And in a few months she'd never see him again anyway.

Without warning, the dull roar of the engines diminished and Meg felt the ferry slow. A second later, a scruffy-faced deckhand in an orange rain slicker shoved his head inside the cabin. "Henry Island. We'll be docked in a few."

Minnie sprang to her feet. "Finally!" She pulled her overnight wheelie and two small shoulder bags out of the luggage bin, then threw on her coat, glancing over her shoulder as she bounded out on deck. "Try to remember this is a party. Party equals fun."

Meg sighed. Party equals fun. Woo hoo. Yay. Party.

With a deep breath, Meg shouldered her backpack and followed Minnie out on deck.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Ten by Gretchen McNeil. Copyright © 2012 by Gretchen McNeil. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Nancy Holder

“Gretchen McNeil’s TEN is my new number one! I jumped at every creaking floorboard in my house and on the page. This is sure to be a teen thriller classic!”

Christopher Pike

“TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat.”

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