Monday, September 15, 2014

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Release Date - September 16, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Get Even has been described as John Hughes with a body count.With it's mix of high school drama, murder, and humour, Get Even does, indeed, bring to mind some classic John Hughes movies. It's strength, and what sets it a part, is in the murder mystery itself

If you're read Gretchen's previous novels you'll know that crafting suspense is something she does incredibly well. This type of story is all about the tension. The added tension of the group dynamic ensured that the outside tension was only magnified by the inside tension. None of the 'DGM' members can fully be sure they trust each other. A shaky alliance built on a shared desire to inflict their brand of justice doesn't exactly instill confidence,and the fact that one of them could be killer is played with throughout.

The moral ambiguity of what 'DGM' does doesn't escape the characters, or the readers. The nature of 'an eye for an eye' is played with here, and all the blurriness that comes with it. Is 'DGM' any better than the bullies they are trying to inflict justice on? That question doesn't have an easy answers. It's hard to deny their usefulness when you see the good they can do, but when it's shown along with the harm it become less fun, and more conflicting. As readers, I think we're meant to feel, at least a little, uncomfortable with what they are doing even as we cheer them on.

This is an ensemble novel. It's got a large cast of characters to keep track of, and each of them have side storylines. It can sometimes be disorienting and dizzying because of the multiple characters we are following. Once you begin to fall into pattern of the novel, and know the characters though, it's a rather enjoyable reading experience. Pacing has always been one of Gretchen McNeil's strongest elements and this is no exception. She keeps everything moving, even with the multiple plotlines and does it without the story feeling weighted down.

The cat and mouse game that the killer (or killers) play with the members of 'DGM' raises the stakes, and made it so that it was personal. It gave them a vested interest that might not have otherwise been there. It all ties back to the pacing and this is the section of the plot where Gretchen's skills as a writer truly come out. The various twists and turns are well plotted, and the number of suspects will certainly keep readers guessing.

The final few pages of this book ensure that the sequel will be nearly impossible to not devour immediately upon release. The unmasking of the killer may have to wait, but there are more than enough clues to keep you hypothesizing until the sequel's release.

A fun murder mystery that offers up plenty of suspects and mixes humour with it's thrills. A few implausible elements, that would however feel at home in a old school teen movie, didn't detract from this enjoyably pleasant read.


  1. This sounds really good! I love Pretty Little Liars and I can definitely see the resemblance from your review. I hadn't heard of this one so I'm glad you've brought it to my attention! Thanks for sharing!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  2. I can't wait to read this one! I really enjoyed Ten and this one sounds similar (Bahha John Hughes with a body count, I love it!). Sounds like 400 pages of AWESOME!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre


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