Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

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Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Get Even
Gretchen McNeil
Series: Don't Get Mad #2
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Publication date: September 16, 2014
by Balzer & Bray

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The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.
-A copy was provided by Balzer + Bray for review-

Are you looking for suspense, mystery, and thrills?

Are you looking for a revenge story in a prep school of les rich, complete with a raging, bully-enabling, hypocritical priest at its head?

Are you looking for side characters that are absolutely cardboard cut-outs of the bitch, the jock, the junkie, the minion-of-the-bitch-who-is-actually-miserable-and-feels-happy-when-she-is-complimented-over-the-bitch (wow that was long), the best friend, the snarling physical education teacher – among other “stereotypical” characters – that are absolutely expected now in books like this?

Yes, you get all of these in Get Even. Now, don’t get me wrong. The characters may have been written in such a way that was seriously cheesy and mayhaps even exaggerated to the point that it’s hard to take any of them seriously, but if you like mindless fun, I have no doubt this would be one of those read now, think later books that a reader would likely enjoy, because despite the one-dimensional characters, everything else is actually really well-written. I mean, take note, guys – this book is almost 400 pages long, and I was able to finish reading from A-Z in a span of four hours. FOUR BLOODY HOURS. That may just be my best personal record (and make that three hours and a half in actual length because I had to take my afternoon merienda somewhere in between. NO ONE or NOTHING can drag me away from my daily snacks!). Only a book that kept me so engrossed can make me fly through the pages like that.

If there’s one thing this book does right, it’s the pacing and how the plot was managed. I initially had doubts whether or not this book will actually enchant me as I’ve crashed and burned too many times before, but Gretchen McNeil’s writing was really able keep my hearting pumping. There were simply too many clues, too many individuals of interest, too many shady backstories, forming a web of deceit and knives on the back, a web so big it’s actually made me fascinated. Fine, yes, most of the characters were one-dimensional, and the secrets were probably even predictable (you need not a telescope to point them out in the distance), but if the writing makes it suspenseful with well-placed “chapter cliffhangers”, can you blame me for actually enjoying it? I admit to rolling my eyes every now and then (the “bitch” in this story was laughably evil it was funny), but for me, it was easy to overlook the little things because the rest were truly gripping.

As for the main characters, we have four. There’s Margot, an introvert who frequently gets panic attacks who used to be bullied by the school’s Queen Bee in Middle School; Olivia, a beautiful, aspiring actress who is the Queen Bee’s “best friend”; Bree, a senator’s daughter who considers herself the black sheep of the family; and Kitty, the Volleyball captain and vice president of the Student Council. Four highly different, and maybe even nicely characterised characters, with chapters alternating among them. Thankfully, they weren’t as limiting as the side characters (who were truly ridiculously one-dimensional… I hope I’m emphasizing that enough because to expect otherwise would only result to disappointment) and their group dynamics were really interesting to read. No, they are not the best of friends. No, their circle of friends are highly different. No, I wouldn’t say all of them are on friendly terms with each other, either. But, they gathered together for one cause, one agenda, and that is to exact revenge on people who mercilessly bully others. 

I simply just loved how they all had conflicting personalities. What would happen if this group who can barely hold themselves together finally meet “their match”? What would happen if shit gets real? What would happen if finally murder is involved? I loved seeing all the cracks in their “friendships” and how they dealt with it. How they treated other people because of it. It definitely made the one-dimensional side characters easier to bear (oh, fine! I’ll stop now!).

All in all, this is a great book with great pacing and well-placed chapter cliffhangers, tons of clues, and tons of shady people you’ll keep giving the shifty eyes to. I have a hunch who it could be, but there are just so many factors so it reckon it would be fun for the reader to piece it all together!

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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8 Responses to “Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil”

  1. Pili

    Hmmmm, I think this one would be one of those fun reads that despite having all the cliches in there would keep me well and good entertained! Sounds like the kinda read I’ll need for one of my sleepless nights!
    Thanks for a great review, Faye!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m not sure I would like this book. Even if it’s more of a mystery/thriller book I would still expect more than stereotypical characters. I’m glad you enjoyed this though, Faye. Sounds like you had a good time with it overall.
    Lovely review!

  3. Kelsey

    This isn’t really a series I’ve looked at much, but I don’t think I would end up reading it any time soon, it just doens’t seem like my type of read. Thanks for reviewing!

  4. JennRenee

    I have seen so many different sided reviews on this book it has made me hesitant to read it. I did love her book Ten and so I do want to read it. I may just need to give it a try. Cut out characters don’t bother me too much as long as they have a place and it fits. i mean there are lots of stereotypical teens out there. But it needs to be done well. I am glad to see the pacing and the plot was enough to keep the book going.