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.