Monday, January 5, 2015

Post Reading: Get Even - Gretchen McNeil

Book Review Get Even Gretchen McNeil


Title: Get Even 
Author: Gretchen McNeil 
Series: Don't Get Mad 
Published: September 16th 2014 by Balzer & Bray
Add it on Goodreads

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. 


If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be mediocre. 

Frustratingly mediocre.

Gretchen McNeil, YA mystery, four girls banding together to fight high school bullies, multiple POVs and secret societies - Sounds like the perfect read right? Unfortunately not in this case. 

Get Even started off with a lot of potential but things started going downhill pretty fast. DGM (Don't Get Mad) is born when four girls from completely different social circles band together to get back at bullies through .......public shaming and humiliation. Not only was this sending out the wrong message it was also utterly juvenile. And the worst part? The secret club comes with its own secret signals, oaths and spy gear (I wish I was kidding). As expected the whole DGM affair soon turns nasty when their newest targets ends up dead and all eyes turn to DGM. 

Silliness aside, the characters were all well-written. Olivia is an aspiring actress, perfect on outside with a secret to hide. Bree is rebelling against her politician dad who's striving to project the perfect family image. Asian beauty, Kitty is the student body vice president. Margot is a brilliant and overweight techie. I enjoyed reading about the four girls and finding out who they were beneath under their facades. However, this book only gave a glimpse of each girl's life so it was quite hard to form an emotional connection with the characters. Romance thankfully, is not the focus of the story but the interactions between the four girls and their respective love interests was interesting enough. 

The portrayal of the villains in Get Even are exaggerated to the point that they looked like one dimensional caricatures. The whole authority-cannot-be-trusted angle was definitely over the top and the fact that the police stood by while the school took matters into its own hands was unbelievably ridiculous.

McNeil maintains an air of suspense throughout the novel and I didn't find it the least bit predictable. The pace was just right for this story and the little reveals that were made along the way had me turning the pages faster. 

The pace picks up considerably in the last couple of pages and it ends.

Just like that. Get Even ends with one hell of a cliffhanger - No big reveal and honestly I can't help but feel cheated.

So will I pick up the sequel? Yes. I'm going to abandon caution and pick it up because I need to know who the killer is. Here's to hoping that the sequel, Get Dirty will surprise me.


3 Stars

“Are you sure,” Bree said drily, “you like your face that way? Because I could rearrange it for you.”
Margot understood the degradation, the knowledge that every set of eyes was on him, judging his overweight body, murmuring “fat ass” under their breath while they tacitly assumed the obesity was his fault.

If you are a Pretty Little Liars fan who enjoys an entertaining mystery read you might enjoy it.

Are you a Gretchen McNeil fangirl/fanboy? What are your thoughts on Get Even? 

Have you got any great YA mystery recommendations for me?


  1. It was a bit meh for me too Nuzaifa. :( I was underwhelmed by this.

    1. Oh so sad to hear that, Bieke! As underwhelming as it was I need to read the sequel to find out the murderer, McNeil definitely knows how to build the suspense.

  2. I'm glad I didn't get this when got the chance,so many people have said it just didn't hit the mark for them.

    1. I think the responses are all 50-50, some seem to have adored it while for others(like me) it fell short of the promise. :(
      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

  3. I absolutely loved McNeil's Ten but sadly I don't think I am a Gretchen McNeil fangirl since that was the only book which I absolutely adored. I did read Get Even and thought it was mediocre too. I agree with you the suspense and mystery was good and it didn't feel predictable but ugh that ending. I hate how we didn't get more answers and that it wasn't as self-contained as I had thought. I hate having to wait until the sequel to find out everything.

  4. I'm not sure I would like this one. I have this book on my TBR, but maybe I should rethink it. I haven't read any of her other novels. I think the portrayal of the villains as caricatures would bother me.

  5. aw :( what a shame that this one was mediocre. I love that premise though (I admit, I've seen this book around but as someone who doesn't read much horror & Gretchen McNeil I tend to associate with horror, I've kind of avoided it).

    Ah, so the bullies bullied back until somehow their targets end up dead. Can't say I'm a huge fan of that, but it's nice to hear that the characters were well-written and that romance doesn't end up overwhelming the rest of the story. Plus not all writers can maintain that good air of suspense while keeping the novel unpredictable. That and the pacing sounds really good - I hope you like the next book and that it works out better for you than this one did!

    (I like the quote you chose. It's rare to see something like weight explicitly discussed in YA, though I'd hope it didn't stop there, with him feeling ashamed of his body.)

    Unfortunately I don't tend to read a lot of YA mystery :( so I can't recommend many. I could recommend thrillers or some contemporaries with mystery elements, but I don't know that I've read much for YA mystery. I hope the others have given you good recs!


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