Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Review: Get Even
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil is the story of four girls- Bree, Kitty, Olivia and Margot- who take it upon themselves to mete out a little justice at their elite prep school. Bullies, mean girls, even teachers who cross the line are all potential targets. Each of the girls runs in a different social circle, but together they are a secret group called DGM- Don't Get Mad. They're sworn to secrecy and the punishments they come up with are often quite elaborate- to the point that the school administration wants to shut them down any way it can. When someone they are targeting turns up dead, with a bloody DGM calling card at the crime scene, things take a more dangerous turn. Someone is framing them for murder- someone who may know who they are.
To make matters worse, the girls start getting envelopes from an anonymous sender- each envelope contains a photo or other information about the members of DGM. Information not widely known. The envelopes threaten to expose secrets that each girl carries, secrets she has not shared with the other members of DGM- and as the stakes get higher, the girls will have to confront past indiscretions- and decide who they can trust.
Get Even was a fun read, with a fast moving plot and great characterization. Each of the girls has a distinct personality, and each brings a unique quality to the group. At the same time they only trust each other so far, and as secrets are revealed they find the bonds of trust fraying even further. Can they overcome their suspicions and find the killer before he or she strikes again? Or will they end up as targets themselves?
This was a page turner for me. There's quite a bit of suspense throughout, and a lot of characters to keep track of. I likes how the characters' pasts would often intersect and secrets would be revealed to add another layer of complexity to the story. The girls each have a compelling backstory, although I particularly liked Bree, with her caustic wit and fierce independence. She has an interesting relationship with john, her best (and pretty much only)friend who has feelings for her that go beyond friendship. He tends to quote Star Wars every chance he gets and that was a nice touch of humor throughout the story. John becomes a suspect, as do several others (including the members of DGM) and by the end of the story we still don't know the killers identity. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger- but what an ending. I thought it was great- and fans of Star Wars will appreciate it as well.
McNeil sprinkles a few pop culture references throughout the story, and a little Shakespeare as well. The drama club is putting on a production of Twelfth Night, but with a twist- they are incorporating elements of the cult movie The Warriors into the story. Interesting combination! The performance happens at the end of the story and everything comes to a head. McNeil certainly seems to be having fun with this- and at the same time she explores issues of bullying, shaming and high school relationships in a way that rings true and that many younger readers may relate to. It's a fun, suspenseful story that takes an unflinching look at bullying and the challenges facing young people in that world we all remember- high school. I can't wait to see what happens next.