Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Get Even

Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1)Author: Gretchen McNeil
Series: Don't Get Mad, #1
Released: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Length: 320 pages
Source: Publisher for review

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 is the first in a new series by Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten, 3:59 and Possess. The book is very dynamic and tightly plotted – the story itself is well thought through, and the mystery is almost impossible to solve ahead of time. There are many clues and probably red herrings, but not enough to come to any sort of conclusion about the culprit.

The problem with having four very different point-of-view characters is that it’s hard to form any kind of emotional connection with them. Each of the girls has her own agenda and they are often secretly, or even unknowingly, in conflict with each other, but it’s impossible for us to choose sides since the narrative is divided pretty equally, which also makes it difficult to actually care about the outcome. If anything, every one of these girls is pretty unlikeable at times, and while their initial goal is noble, their overall behavior isn’t commendable in the least.

The lack of characterization and proper emotional connection was most likely intentional - meant to plant a seed of doubt into our minds. We were supposed to question the girls' actions, alibis and motivations. Any one of them could easily be the murderer. (We still don't know for sure, of course.) In addition, most of the romances were a bit superfluous, nothing more than an unnecessary burden on the narrative.

But even that’s something a more patient reader can easily live with. The biggest issue with Get Even is that it ends with what is basically a cliffhanger. We learn nothing about the murderer(s), nothing about the fate of our protagonists, and not a single thing is actually resolved. The book just ends at a certain point, and while the ending is fairly memorable, it also feels a lot like cheating.

The next book is probably worth picking up, but with caution and a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. Let’s see where it all goes, shall we? We could end up pleasantly surprised.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Ah yes it's a little difficult when you can't link with any of the characters, at the end you're a little out of the story. But it's interesting to see that the book has a good mystery, I love that. I didn't know the book so thanks for the review.

  2. I hate these kind of endings. I don't like unresolved ones.
    GREAT review, Maja!
    Your reader,

  3. I haven't read any of McNeil's books but they have pretty interesting premises. I like that the mystery in this one is hard to solve, but it's too bad that it's hard to form an emotional connection with any of the girls, which is why I usually avoid books with more than dual POVs.

  4. I was quite intrigued about this one, but after your review I'm gonna wait till at least the sequel is released, because I cannot deal with one more cliffhanger! (unless it involves a series that I'm already invested in, those I must deal with.)
    Thanks for you review, Maja!

  5. I think we felt very similar about this Maja. It was good but not great but at the same time the mystery was well done.

  6. Despite the flaws you mentioned, I was still interested since you said it was difficult for you to figure out the mystery, but that cliffie sounds like more than I can handle.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  7. "The problem with having four very different point-of-view characters is that it’s hard to form any kind of emotional connection with them."

    That's exactly why I tend to struggle with books that have more than a dual POV Maja! I just can't connect to so many different people because I simply don't have the time to really feel them out. I could probably look past that though if the murder mystery was something special, but the fact that we reach the last page without having learned a single thing is really frustrating. I'll definitely be waiting until book 2 is out to see if I want to give this one a go!

  8. I have yet to read a single thing by Gretchen McNeil, but I have heard some positive things about her other books. So I may have to start there first and try this series when the second book is about and there is maybe a stronger feeling as which direction the series is going in. Especially when the four girls are not that likeable, I always find myself disengaging from reading a book when the main characters are not likeable. Great review!

  9. I don't think I would appreciate all the POVs and not being able to connect with any of the characters. That's so important to me when it comes to books. At least the plot is tight though. For now, I'll be skipping this.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  10. I think this will be a pass for me. I get what she's trying to do with the four POVs but that can quickly get muddled.

  11. Have yet to read a McNeil book was the premise of Get Even sounds interesting although i don't like endings like that. But i think i will check it out if i can. Great review :)

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  12. I always give first installments a pass because they are rarely perfect, but if book 2 suffers from that dreaded sequel syndrome, then I don't feel as bad calling it quits. This one seems like it has potential, and with a cliffe you practically have to read the follow-up. That's how they get ya. LOL

  13. While I liked that this mystery is thought through and not easy to solve, I'm dubious about the multiple POVs and the cliffhanger ending. I guess I'll see what book 2 is like before picking this one up.

  14. I'm really not a fan of cliffhanger endings and especially in mystery novels, I like closing the book knowing how the murder was committed and by who. I doubt this is for me but I definitely hope the sequel is worth the wait and agony of a cliffhanger!

  15. I am all for a good solid mystery that is practically impossible to solve, but a cliffhanger and lack of connection out me off. I will watch for the sequel before deciding.

  16. No. Just no. I hate books that resolve nothing. It makes me wonder if the next book will resolve anything either. I'm also not a fan of the multi-POV. I suppose though, if the next book rocks I would read it.

  17. This book has been getting os many mixed reviews but just that fact that this ending resolves nothing and it's just open is a definite feal breaker for me. I can't stand stories like that. I also just get too annoyed and it taints the entire book.

  18. I think I might have put up with anything until you mentioned that nothing really gets resolved in the end. I mean a good mystery is sometimes all I need but if I read a book, even if it's the first in the series, I want some sort of resolution. If there is none, then it just seems like I wasted hours reading a book and that is NOT cool.

    I am sorry you didn't enjoy this more, Maja!! :(

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  19. I heard this author always delivers with a good dose of mystery and sometimes creepines so I have all her books on my tbr list. I will probably read this one soon though, it just intrigues me. I am sorry you didnt likme it that much but great review :)


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