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Ten by Gretchen McNeil

February 13, 2018

It all starts with a shy girl named Meg and her bigger-than-life, popular best friend, Minnie. One day Meg and Minnie get an invitation to a party hosted by one of the most influential girls at their school, Jessica, on her private island. Knowing their parents won’t approve, they sneak away to the party.

Once they sneak away to the ferry and make it to the island, the ferry pulls away and the captain tells them he will pick them up in three days. When Meg and Minnie walk down the dock they spy TJ Fletcher, the boy that both girls have had a crush on for a while. Meg had denied an invitation to the homecoming dance from TJ and told him she was sick because she knew Minnie would never forgive her; that made TJ dislike Meg ever since. They see another guy they don’t recognize. He says that his name is Ben, Jessica’s boyfriend, and he will be on the island with Meg, Minnie, TJ, and the other six teens until Jessica gets back from a cheerleading event the next day.

As Gretchen McNeil continues the novel she adds the twist of the teenagers finding a disc telling them that they have all been guilty of “character assassination.” The book continues and briskly speeds up pace. McNeil starts to add in the horror part of the novel after that. As the teens start dying mysteriously, no one can trust each other. McNeil crafts a strong, fast-paced mystery of suspicion. All the while, she uses great diction that put readers in the moment with Meg and Minnie.

McNeil uses only Meg’s perspective throughout the book, which helped me understand the story better. It also helped me get to know Meg better, since I only had to focus on one point of view. Another strength of having only one character is readers get to see all of the other characters from Meg’s perspective.

The mystery of the killer draws nearer, and there are fewer and fewer teens still alive. The characters have to figure out who’s still alive that might be the killer, or if the murderer is someone that’s already dead. Gretchen McNeil’s Ten is a fast paced book that I can guarantee readers will not be able to put down easily.


Balzer and Bray, 294 pages


The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

February 2, 2018

First off, a warning: if you don’t like gore in your books then don’t bother to read this review.

Wilson’s screams abruptly ended in a gurgling report and a veritable geyser of blood, most of which cascaded from a robust stream into the monster’s waiting mouth. His head fell forward with a sickening thud onto the metal bars. A final paroxysmal spasm of his legs and Wilson lay still.

Will Henry is a sixteen-year-old orphan who works for a man with an unusual practice: monstrumology, or the study of monsters. His master, Doctor Warthrop, is obsessed with this and brings Will Henry on a gory, painful, and also violent adventure to hunt down and examine a type of monster called the Anthropophagi, thought to be extinct, which has recently begun to come out of hibernation and started to eat humans. This book is set in a world just like ours; the one crucial difference being that there is a chance that monsters are lurking around every corner. Soon a simple examination mission becomes a fight for the survival of millions of others.

I loved the way Yancey developed Will as a character. When the book starts Will shies away from everything, but by the end he is an exuberant character who readers can still relate to—aside from the fact that he hunts monsters. It was a good choice by Yancey to change Will as a character because readers focus more on the problem rather than trying to understand what the character was thinking.

Yancey also did a good job of developing the secondary character: Doctor Warthrop. Even though his personality didn’t change throughout the book, at the beginning his personality completely offsets Will’s, which is an effective choice. I also liked Doctor Warthrop as a character because his personality contrasts with Will’s, in multiple ways, one of them being his professionalism in monstrumology. He is very good at monstrumology because he has done it his whole life, whereas Will is new to it. I appreciated Yancey’s choice to make this contrast. It made the book more effective for me.

I thought that the secondary problem of Will trying to gain Doctor Worthrop’s respect was an effective addition by Yancey. It was nice to sometimes not be immersed in the violent world of monstrumology and get a chance to learn more about the character’s personalities. I thought that it was a good choice by Yancey to have one problem be action-packed, gory adventure and one problem be a little less heavy and a little bit slow-moving. Whenever I would consider stopping, Yancey would draw me back into the book with another action scene. I appreciated the balance of action and character development.

This book was an 11 out of 10 for me and many others. Yancey brought me out of my house and into a new world where anything is possible, good or bad. I encourage anyone and everyone to at least give this book a shot and enter a different world.


Simon & Schuster, 434 pages

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

Will Henry doesn’t have an ordinary life; he has a career of monstrumology all planed out for him. He’s battled against the anthropophagi, in Yancey’s first book, but he and readers wonder if he has what it takes to defeat the elusive Wendigo, which the ancient story describes as, “he who eats all mankind.” The Wendigo is said to be up to twelve feet tall, and it is so slender that it can’t be seen from the side. The more it eats human flesh the hungrier it becomes, and once it catches a person’s scent it will hunt for days until it finds the perfect moment to strike.

The main characters in The Curse of the Wendigo are Will Henry, Dr. Pellinore Wathrop, and John Chanler. The doctor’s best friend has gone missing in the woods of Canada. looking for the myth of the Wendigo. So Henry and the doctor are heading to the woods to find him or it – whichever they discover first.

The genre of Rick Yancey’s book is horror and paranormal, and if you don’t like gore and horror this is not the book you should be reading. I loved this novel because it was a real page-turner, and throughout the story Yancey keeps a steady pace. Readers should make sure to read the first book or they won’t really get this one. The Monstrumologist won a Michael Printz Honor Award, and I liked it better because it was more fast-paced and creepier than this book. This book is gorier and just straight out strange, which does make it enjoyable.

I loved this novel because I had never read a book quite like this one. This series is like a young adult version of the Goosebumps novels, so it’s a lot scarier, gorier, and includes everything that has to do with nightmares. I recommend this to anyone that can look past the gore and frightening parts of the novel and see how well-developed Yancey’s story is because the shock factors are not the only features that makes this book good. Rick Yancey also wrote the 5th wave series and, if you haven’t read that trilogy I highly recommend it.

There are four books in this series: the first one is the best and the quality falls off as they go on, as I have heard from a number of readers. Later the books are slower with not as much detail. It’s possible that Yancey ran out of material because he already included so much in the first two books, and he didn’t want to repeat plot lines he had already written.

This series is meant to be read, and I hope you accept the challenge.


Simon & Shuster BFYR, 424 Pages

The Rattled Bones by S. M. Parker

January 27, 2018

Rilla Brae’s life has taken a drastic turn. With her mother living in a mental asylum and her father’s recent death, she has to live with her grandmother on an island off the coast of Sabasco, Maine. Rilla has lived on this island her whole life, but one day she suddenly starts hearing voices at night. Not wanting anyone to think she is going down the same path as her mother, Rilla decides to keep her secret to herself. With her father dead, the only way for her to make a living is to continue to keep up with lobstering, as her father had before: a hard and low-paying job. But one day, while Rilla is out on her boat, she meets Sam, a student from USM who studies the neighboring island, Malaga. Rilla joins Sam on his expedition, and together they uncover life-changing secrets about the place Rilla thought she knew like the back of her hand.

One aspect I appreciated in The Rattled Bones was that author S. M. Parker tells the story through Rilla’s point of view. Using first person was effective because I always got a taste of how Rilla was feeling throughout the book. However, most books told through first person fail to develop the secondary characters as well. In The Rattled Bones, this was not the case. Simply through the dialogue, I could see what each character’s personality was like and how his or her feelings impacted the story.

Parker crafts each character’s personality amazingly. With Rilla telling the story through first person, you’d think you will only get a strong sense of her personality, but Rilla’s boyfriend Reed’s sharp and quick-to-talk personality, Gram’s stern but caring personality, and Sam’s kind and humble personality all shone through.

Another feature of The Rattled Bones that surpasses other novels is the effective mix of three genres: historical fiction, horror, and contemporary realistic fiction. Historical fiction comes in when Rilla and Sam learn about Malaga’s history, and the horror comes in with the voices and visions Rilla experiences. Some readers might think that three genres in one book is too much, but here they blended together perfectly.

I enjoyed how real facts were mixed into the story. For instance, when Rilla takes Sam lobstering, you learn true details about how lobstering works in real life. Other examples are the facts Rilla and Sam learn while exploring Malaga Island. It was impressive to learn information about Maine’s history that I didn’t know before, especially from a novel.

I also enjoyed the theme: there’s always something new to learn about a place you think you know like the back of your hand. Although Rilla has lived right next to the overlooked Malaga Island, she has no idea of the secrets it holds. Be sure to read the book, and you’ll find the secrets she and Sam discover.

I thought that The Rattled Bones was an amazing novel. With nothing to criticize, I would rate the novel a perfect 10/10. It was a real page-turner and was the perfect length. Readers who like a suspenseful plot, well-crafted characters, and a story with real facts mixed in will love this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading. So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy of The Rattled Bones!


Simon Pulse, 370 pages

Carrie by Stephen King

February 11, 2016

Carrie-book-cover-imageCarrie White looks–and believes she is–normal. She lives with her extremely religious, abusive mother. At school Carrie is also bullied and mistreated by her classmates. But as prom approaches, Carrie begins to develop telekinetic powers. She starts manipulating her mother and some of her bullies from school. On prom night Chris, the girl who has tormented Carrie most, gets her for good. Carrie furiously lashes out, injuring or murdering everyone at prom, especially the people who have hurt her the most.

This thriller by Stephen King intrigues and thrills with every scene of action and revenge. King includes interviews and journal entries from survivors of prom night. He also incorporates definitions of Carrie’s powers and other pieces of the book that readers might not understand, so they never have to feel lost. Readers will find it impossible to put this novel down–so much so that they may read it in a day. However, I advise against reading Carrie before bed.

Reading this book, I was always a little creeped out to read how King described the scenes involving Carrie’s mother the night of prom. Throughout King always had me feeling what he wanted to convey. Whether it was sympathy or horror, I was convinced. I read this book in one day, mesmerized by every scene, unable to take my eyes of the page. The book is very fast-paced, but you shouldn’t read too fast, or you’ll lose your understanding of what is happening.

If you are interested in trying a thriller, Carrie would be a good transitional read—one that’s more creepy than terrifying. I would recommend that students thirteen years and over read this book because it can be alarming when Carrie’s mother is abusive but at the same time hurts herself. If you read this, you must be prepared to have an intense fear of your mother!

I rated Carrie a ten. I thought King was creative in this novel. He has written other thrillers just amazing as this read, and there has also been a movie made of this irresistible book.


Pocket Books, 193 pages

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

March 3, 2015

iamlegend-bookcover2When ravaging vampires lurk around your house at night throwing rocks at it, and you don’t know if you will live to see the light of morning, you consider your options: survive or die. Robert Neville is supposedly the last man on earth as the vampire onslaught continues. He finds there is nothing much left to do in the world, so he decides to preform experiments to determine why this disease is here. The first thing he finds out: he is immune.

Author Richard Matheson has created an apocalyptic world where few people survive a disease-ridden planet. This book is about one person named Robert Neville, a curious middle-aged man who wants to know why he is chosen to be the last. As dust storms blow viciously across the world, spreading what he thinks is the reason for the disease, Robert wants to know why it is happening. First, he realizes he is immune when he is bitten, clawed, or chewed he does not turn. When the disease first starts, family and friends all around him drop like flies and die or transform into vampires.

I enjoyed this book because I never knew what was going to happen next. At some points I wondered how this could continue on but Matheson picks right up on an engaging plot twist.

The narrative voice is from the third person point-of-view of Robert Neville, which is a cool way to write when there is only one character that the book follows. I didn’t like certain parts of the book where Robert Neville embarks on retrieving food from the “Oh so convenient grocery store down the block,” which I thought was an unrealistic feature because it makes it almost too easy for him to survive with all the food he needs. He also goes into the houses of neighbors and very descriptively murders the sleeping vampires that were hiding from the sun, which also makes it easy to survive the night and gain vengeance during the day.

There is a movie based on the book that is similar in that there are few people alive, but in the movie Robert Neville has a huge lab, test rats, and conducts different experiments that don’t seem realistic. In the book, Robert hangs garlic from his windows and creates wooden crosses which he nails to his house to prevent the vampires from entering his hideout. This novel placed me right in the reading zone, and I thought it would be great to have a second book in the series to know what happened after Robert Neville. I recommend this book to any person who likes apocalyptic themed books and loves captivating stories.


Tom Doherty Associates, 294 pages

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