Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13 Minutes

by Sarah Pinborough

Young Adult | Thriller | 320 Pages | To be published by Gollancz on 18th February 2016

| Rating |

This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Between the gorgeous cover art, an intriguing synopsis and a very witty author (whom, thanks to Lynn’s Books, I unearthed at the Gollancz Book Festival), I just had to request 13 minutes and find out what all the fuss was about. And Sarah Pinborough does not disappoint. 13 Minutes is an intense psychological crime thriller which twists and turns and continues to surprise until the very end. This a novel full of teenage angst, decaying friendships and melodrama, which examines the inconsistency of youth on a backdrop of lies, revenge and murder. 13 Minutes is a carefully crafted thriller which is utterly absorbing and makes you think twice about the teenagers in your life…

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough is a gripping psychological thriller about people, fears, manuiplation and the power of the truth. A stunning read, it questions our relationships – and what we really know about the people closest to us . . .

13 Minutes follows the story of Natasha ‘Tasha’ Howland, a popular, beautiful and brilliant teenage girl who is found close to death after being pulled out of a freezing river by a dog walker. With no memory of the events leading up to her attack, everyone is a suspect – from the man who found her to her high school entourage. As suspicions are heightened and all evidence starts to point in a certain direction, will the police intervene before it’s too late? Or will Tasha and her old friend Becca take matters into their own hands to uncover the killer’s identity?

13 Minute is part thriller, part teenage drama; a Mean Girls and psychological thriller mash up, full of broken friendships, angst and betrayals which tie into the unfolding crime drama. The chapters are split into the diary entries of Tasha and a third person perspective of Becca, a girl whom she dumped as a friend when she no longer had the image to fit in with Tasha’s ‘barbie’ retinue. When events conspire to bring them together again, their entirely polarised lives and friendship groups come together in a clash of blonde hair, Vogue cigarettes and eyeliner.

Tasha and Becca’s characters are extemely well depicted and are instantly believable, if not always likeable, and through them the cast of barbies and nobodies which weave their way through the narrative. The success of this novel relies heavily on its skilled characterisation which provides a true reflection of real life. There is a danger in novels such as this in creating a cast of stereotypes but any girl who has experienced high school will see something of the reality in the teenage dramas which crowd the corridors… if not with quite the same dangerous consequences.

Sarah Pinborough writes effortlessly in an almost conversational tone to craft an excellently thrilling tale, which kept me guessing until the very end. I don’t often read novels centred around teenage dramas – it isn’t something I would instantly pick up in a bookshop – but once I let myself go, I soon became immersed in this world of bitching and backstabbing, and mayhem and murder, which left me genuinely surprised at its conclusion.

13 Minutes exceeded all my expectations, and its almost continuous surprises had me gripped from start to finish. If you’re craving a Young Adult thriller then look no further, this is a truly absorbing read. With The Death House already awaiting my attention, Sarah Pinborough is certainly an author I am determined to read more of.

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3 thoughts on “Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

  1. I’d love to try more books by Sarah Pinborough. Her books Mayhem and Murder rank among my all time favorite horror novels. It’s just a shame that her books take a while to get release dates in the US, I may have a while to wait for this one as well unless I nab it from Book Depository 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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