Title: Get Even
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)
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 a classic revenge story with dangerous twists and turns. The level of tension is high, the level of drama is high, and the stakes are the highest they could be. Secrets surround the school like locusts, leaving barely any room for the truth to escape.
While they have the same over-arching goal, all 4 girls are very different. Bree, Olivia, Kitty, Margot. They have different personalities, different friends, different painful back stories. Different motives, different opinions. What I liked about their interactions and banter, the times when they were together, was that they never felt like friends. Instead, they felt like acquaintances, like co-workers. They're not friends, they couldn't be. Or else the entire school would know the truth behind DGM.
This book is all about revenge and consequences, both for the girls and those they target. The girls aren't immune to revenge. Everyone has secrets they wish were better hidden. Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has lied and cheated. In the end, it's all about how far someone will go for payback, how much harm is caused, and how much is revealed.
Books like this, with revenge plots, certainly raise a number of questions when it comes to morals and condoning this kind of behaviour. In a way I'm torn on whether or not I believe that DGM is a good thing. Yes, I do believe that people should be punished if they do something wrong. Cheat, steal, assault, rape, murder. But do I believe that, if nothing is or can be done by police, revenge is the answer? When people we care about are hurt, in pain, or ruined, we would do anything to right those wrongs. But where do we draw the line between justice and vigilante? Is it all just black and white, or are there too many shades of grey for us to tell?
When the end came around, I had no idea who was going after the girls. There are possibilities, there can't not be possibilities, but there are so many and you only see so much of the story, only what the girls see. And even then, some are still keeping secrets. And what about the possibility that it's not one person, that some of the messages are from different people wanting their revenge on each of the girls? I won't deny the similarities to Burn for Burn, but I enjoyed this more. It was all about the girls and the mystery, about their secrets catching up on them and causing friction and distrust. I can't wait for the next book, for even more hints and clues.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from HarperCollins Canada.)