Ten Little Indians Went Out to Party? Book Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

If you told me Charmin was making a special edition toilet paper based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, I would buy it.

The great Dame Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors and And Then There Were None is one of my favorite novels. Do I need to prove my love?

Meet Agatha Christie, aka Aggie. You know you’re the coolest when people name their dog after you.

When my little sister Josie showed me this book, I knew I had to read it. I’m a sucker like that. I’m not a big YA reader, but I couldn’t hep myself. In true self-fulfilling prophecy mode, I knew I wasn’t going to like it, and, duh! I didn’t.

Ten teenage idiots went out to party…there’s a web of puppyish love intrigue, an introverted writer who, despite her crippling awkwardness and snowflake weirdness,  somehow attracts the hottest boy in school (hasn’t this been done before…?) with her witty one-liners. Spoiler alert: She’s not that funny. Whenever a guy laughs hysterically at your lame joke, he only wants one thing.

Set on an island in the Puget Sound (insert generic Seahawk reference), ten teenagers show up to a party, get stranded, have no cell phone signal (I checked the Verizon coverage map; apparently none of them have Verizon) and started getting murdered and stuff, which is almost as scary as that boy you like not asking you out.

*spoiler alert*

Ringu-style revenge provides only the thinnest veneer of motives for taking out this group of obnoxious young people. Intentionally or not, the surest way to die in this revenge-fantasy deathfest is to be:

A. Not white.
B. Suffering from a mental disorder.
C. Have a crippling food allergy.
D. “Lean in,” that is, defy your assigned gender role.
E. Did I say “not white?”

Taking a cue from the timeworn manual “How to survive a Horror Film,” the protagonist is bland, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, white, just a little bit sassy, and committed to the man that she loves.

Look, I know the Dame wasn’t exactly the epitome of diversity, but And Then There Were None is a take-no-prisoners type of story. In Ten, the teens are prisoners of love. The reader is a prisoner of a paint-by-numbers YA murder mystery coasting on the superior work of a highly inventive author. Skip it and read the real thing.

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