ARC Book Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1)

Title: Get Even (Don’t Get Mad #1)
Author: Gretchen McNeil
 Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children
Release Date: 16th September 2014
Genre: Young Adult, contemporary, mystery
Format: E-book
Page Count: 320
Source: Edelweiss

3 of 5 hearts

Four school girls with nothing in common are secretly a vigilante group known only as DGM: Don’t Get Mad. They retaliate against bullies, but when their latest target is murdered before they can humiliate him and DGM is framed, they realise someone knows their identities, and is coming after them next unless they give themselves up.

Get Even should have been an amazing book. I stayed up until 3am reading it. I don’t even remember the last time I did that with a book. It SHOULD have been amazing because it was a thrilling mystery about four amazing, strong girls with nothing in common who worked as a fabulous team (seriously, put these girls in superhero costumes and they will KICK ASS), it had an incredibly diverse cast, the relationships were all organic and realistic, the plot was interesting, the mystery was mystifying, until… the final page. The VERY FINAL PAGE is where it all went to hell.

Why? How can one book, one which I was sure was going to end up a 5 star read, end up only 3 stars?

I’ll tell you why. There’s a little thing called GENRE CONVENTION. DO NOT FUCK WITH IT.

Let me ask you a question:

  • Is a romance without a happily ever after still a romance?
  •  Is a sci-fi without advanced technology and/or a futuristic setting still a sci-fi?
  •  Is a dystopian without the violent heroine starting a rebellion still a dystopian? (don’t answer that one, it’s tongue in cheek).
  •  Is a murder mystery without revealing the murderer still a mystery?

This book is a mystery. It’s a Young Adult Contemporary MYSTERY. There is a mystery. There is a murderer. There is a large cast of characters who are suspects, each with a great motive. There is Hidden Evidence, Inference Gaps, and Foreshadowing. It’s utterly thrilling. And if the book had actually revealed who the murderer was, I could say with certainty that there were a few red herrings.

Unfortunately the book ends before the denouement. The only reason I can think of why someone would do this is to extend the book into a series.

And I really fucking hate being bribed or suckered into reading a series.

I don’t mind cliffhangers. The characters could still have been hauled away. But leaving the biggest mystery unanswered really grind my fucking gears. Especially because I was so engrossed in this book that I stayed up until 3am reading that. Did I mention that? That’s because that NEVER HAPPENS. I feel betrayed by this ending. I feel personally fucking affronted. I’m not smart enough to figure out who the murderer is, and I was really, really looking forward to it being revealed.

BUT NO. I have to buy the NEXT BOOK to find out. Or maybe it’s a series-wide mystery and I need to read ALL THE BOOKS.

No. I need closure. I need satisfaction. Neither of which I got from this horrible, cash-grabbing ending.

I loved, I loved SO MUCH the multiple points of view. I loved the four protagonists. I loved their characters, their motivation, their chemistry together. I loved their friendship, their fighting, their wit. I loved the enormous cast of characters. I loved the sweet love interests for each girl and was rooting for all of them (even the spicy-scented, crooked-smiled cliché). I loved the villainy of the awful adult characters that demonstrated how authority cannot be trusted, especially in the case of bullies. I loved the use of Twelfth Night as the Shakepeare Play of the Book, and I especially loved it being mashed up with The Warriors because omg that fil is amazeballs has anyone else seen it? I loved getting a glimpse into American high school life because I have no idea what Leadership class is. Is there really a class that teaches teenager show to be leaders? That’s awesome.

But most of all, I loved the way this book made me feel, the way it kept e reading way past bedtime with my husband snoring beside me, eagerly flipping pages because I WAS DESPERATE TO KNOW WHO THE KILLER WAS.

I should have flipped to the end to find out that I WOULD NEVER KNOW.

3 stars for the ending alone.

Thanks to HarperCollins Children and Edelweiss for providing a free review copy for an honest review.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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