Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published: September 16th, 2014 (Balzer & Bray)
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Rating: Three Stars
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.
Cover Thoughts: This cover was featured in a past WCW. I really love the silhouette vibe in the background though it gives off a Pretty Little Liars vibe.
First Line: Bree sat back against the chain-link fence, bouncing her tennis racket lightly against the toe of her black converse.
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars
Let’s see, I understand the Pretty Little Liars comparison but The Breakfast Club comparison I don’t understand at all. Don’t Get Mad reminds me of Pretty Little Liars with the lack of real connection the members of DGM have. In Get Even, there are four girls, Margot, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot who have joined together to form the anonymous group Don’t Get Mad, also known as DGM.
I liked how one of the characters actually had a brush with bullying, it helped to understand why they would step up and be in DGM. EAch of the girls have a specific reason for agreeing to be in DGM and I thought all of their reasons were valid. It was nice to see they weren’t just creating DGM to get back at people.
Margot is girl who is nice, intelligent and overweight. In the past she was bullied and attempted. Margot’s parents now keep her really busy all the time on a strict schedule so she won’t have time to think about committing suicide. She’s very smart and is in all advanced placement classes with plans of going to an Ivy League school.
Olivia is a popular, gorgeous, social butterfly as well as an aspiring actress. She is “best friends” with Amber, she has a somewhat broken home with her mother living through her. Olivia and Amber’s relationship didn’t really work for me, they were more “frenemies” (Friends/Enemies” and I kept wondering why Olivia dealt with her. I’ll also say it bothered me that Amber, who was a mean girl, shared the same name as me. 🙂
Kitty is the student vice president. She ends up being interested in Donte, Olivia’s ex boyfriend. Kitty is also captain of the volleyball team.
Bree is the girl with the politician for a father though by her clothing and behavior, you wouldn’t know for sure. Bree seemed a little cliche just by that personality. Bree’s best friend is John who ends up being the top contender for DGM. I liked seeing their friendship shift and change, at times they were okay with each other and other times they were on the rocks. It was nice to see their friendship wasn’t perfect and I like how it developed. Although each of the characters annoyed me at certain times, I liked Bree and John.
I feel like the characters weren’t as real as they could have been. It seemed like McNeil sort of just chose personalities and names that were so different from the others to create the characters. Then again, this seems to be a common theme in “group friendship” books and as they say, opposites attract. I did like each of the girls’ backstories and hopefully they’re elaborated on more throughout the Get Even Series.
The girls aren’t exactly friends and only formed DGM after being assigned in the same group for an assignment. An interesting aspect Don’t Get Mad shares with Pretty Little Liars is the lack of any common ground among the girls. Each of the characters is different from the others besides one thing, their need of revenge for those who can’t get it for themselves.
These girls take it upon themselves to get revenge on bullies, teachers and other students who harass others. I thought the idea of this was really interesting. Unfortunately Don’t Get Mad definitely wasn’t executed as well as I would have liked. The premise was interesting but I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. Something a little different though. Don’t Get Mad jumps straight into action and afterwards their target is murdered. When Ronny is found dead with a DGM card in his hand, the girls are prime suspects for the murder. The girls then suspect that one of them had actually killed Ronny. I think it would have been interesting to hear more about the girls’ past Don’t Get Mad experiences.
If that’s not enough, the school and specifically Coach Creed goes into super protective mode and tries to figure out who DGM is. The coach creates a group of students called the Maine Men who’s job it is to find out who DGM is. Coach Creed was an awful character who humiliated his students without care. He takes a particular interest in discovering DGM after he becomes a victim of one of their public humiliation stunts. He eventually heads into a downward spiral which is one of the parts of Don’t Get Mad that I actually really enjoyed. It was interesting to see him losing his mind more and more.
As the mysterious, unknown villain of sorts (or murderer really) begins sending the girls pictures and notes, the girls decide that they shouldn’t contact the police. Now what does this remind me of again? Pretty Little Liars. I will never understand why these teenagers take it upon themselves to solve a mystery or just deal with harassment and stalking. I wouldn’t be able to do it. Well, I guess if I were Veronica Mars, I would.
There were quite a bit of characteristics, coincidences and relationship drama that came a bit close to Pretty Little Liars that I didn’t like. There are aspects of each of the girls that I liked. I could definitely relate to Margot’s feelings regarding herself and I loved how she grew throughout Get Even. It also didn’t hurt that she was in the drama scene helping out with memorization. I like how Kitty felt responsible for the group and took over the leader position for DGM. I envied Olivia’s acting abilities and loved that she was involved in theater and didn’t necessarily go after “big” acting jobs such as tv shows or movies and focused on school plays. I liked Bree’s attitude and how she didn’t conform to who she should be as the politician’s daughter, but was just herself. Although I felt this was pushed a little too hard in Get Even.
There were a lot of coincidences in Get Even where the characters would almost find each other, but then at the very last second wouldn’t. There was a twist that I like, which may not exactly be a ‘twist” per say and I suppose it’s fairly predictable, but I still enjoyed it and it kept me on my toes. I did predict quite a few things in Get Even which I didn’t care for, but didn’t mind too much.
There are a number of suspects and characters I still want to find out a lot more about. The ending definitely drew my attention back to the book and I will be reading the next book. Overall am interested in finding out who the murderer is, why they’re after DGM, and a few other “mysteries” involving other characters.
I wasn’t impressed with how the girls attempted to solve the problem. I couldn’t help but comparing the characters to those in Pretty Little Liars, while I found the characters in the latter to be a bit more interesting and I was disconnected to the characters in Don’t Get Mad. Although I couldn’t get a connection to the girls yet in this book, I found the characters in Don’t Get Mad to be more relatable. I’m interested in seeing where Don’t Get Mad goes. I rate it three stars.