Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DNF Book Review: Get Even, by Gretchen McNeil

I read 45% of Get Even before I decided to give up. I really wanted to find out what happened, but I just couldn't do it.

To quickly summarize, there's a group of kids at a private school who are "getting even" with other students and teachers who are bullies. Then, one of their targets gets murdered, and the group is under suspicion. But it's pretty hard to do anything about it, because no one knows who they are.

I had a minor issue with the whole concept of these activities going on in a school. I'm a school librarian, and although I've only worked in one school, that's my life, and something like this would never happen. At least not in the schools that I'm familiar with. I remember feeling this way about The List, but I still enjoyed that book, and I really thought I'd enjoy Get Even too. So that's not the problem.

I couldn't keep the characters straight. There were so many characters introduced in the first couple pages, that I was overwhelmed. I thought they would soon be developed enough that I could keep track of which was which. But no. I think it was because each character (or set of characters) gets only a page or two then we switch again. And new characters keep getting introduced for a while. I suppose this is a personal thing, because I've read a few reviews and no one seems to be bothered by this. One review did mention that we slowly get to know each character's back story, but thought that was a plus, not a minus.

I considered making a list with their characteristics, but if you have to do that to read a novel, then it's just too much work.

I was excited by the murder. I thought the plot really picked up after that, and I wanted to know who did it. But as I read on, skipping from character to character, I realized that it was likely the murderer would be revealed and I wouldn't know which character he or she was anyway! That's when I decided to give up.

So, there you have it. Just know that you must read carefully and remember what is revealed about each character as you go along, because characters get introduced and set aside at a rapid pace. If you can keep them straight, I think Get Even might be a worthwhile read. Good luck.

Published by Balzer + Bray, September 16, 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
180 of 400 pages

Rating: DNF

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  1. That's too bad you didn't finish. I had a bit of trouble at first keeping them straight but then about halfway through got it straight. As for whether that happens in school, as a teacher for the past 19 years, a librarian the last two, I wouldn't think that stuff would happen either. But, my younger sister has told me in later years how she was bullied in a Catholic school, and how the teachers did nothing, and often were part of the problem. She's 11 years younger than me, but I wish I'd known something about it when it was going on. I hate that she had to deal with it. So, I know those things do happen unfortunately. Well, somewhat. I really enjoyed the book when I got towards the end.

    1. I didn't mean to imply that bullying doesn't happen -- I know it does. (Although I don't think the coaches are the ones doing it.) I just meant the whole "secret group trying to get even" aspect. I just don't think that would happen. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I'm sorry you couldn't get into this one. I did enjoy it, but I totally agree about keeping the characters straight. There were just too many "main" characters. I kept having to reread and back track. I did keep going because I really wanted to see how everything would come together. It ended on a HUGE cliffhanger with little resolution. I was frustrated by that, but I will now read the next one so I can see how things truly end.


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