Friday 18 August 2017

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough

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 . . .

What did I think?

I've read a few Sarah Pinborough books so when I saw 13 Minutes on one of my bookshop browsing sessions, without even reading the synopsis on the back, I just had to buy it.  I find with Sarah Pinborough that you're always guaranteed something that little bit (or a lot in some cases) out of the ordinary.  13 Minutes is no exception as I tried to work out what had happened to Queen of the Barbies, Natasha Howland.

An early morning dog walker finds a body in the river and immediately calls the paramedics; after 13 minutes without oxygen the body is revived and Natasha Howland is brought back to life.  She doesn't know how she ended up the river so several chapters contain transcripts of her visit to a psychologist along with text transcripts from her 'friends'.  I love chapters like this as they bring an added sense of real life to the story.  It's also good to look back on when 'all is revealed' to see what clues you missed along the way.

Natasha is THE most popular girl in school.  In primary school she was best friends with Becca and the two girls were partial to a game of chess.  When senior school came around, chess became uncool so Natasha dumped Becca for look-a-likes Hayley and Jenny.  They collectively became known (thanks to Becca) as The Barbies.  Becca becomes her own person without them and is happy with her boyfriend, Aiden, but when another body turns up in the river they have one thing in common - Aiden!  Is Aiden being set up or is he the killer?

This is another cracking book by Sarah Pinborough.  I think it might be sitting in the YA genre but it ventures enough into the dark side to appeal to adult readers.  It is so very well played that it is very apt that chess is the game of choice within the book.  One wrong move and the game is over.  With psychologist statements and text messages throughout the book, the reader must gather the clues and make up their own mind...but will they get the right answer and find out what really happened to Natasha?

If Alfred Hitchcock had directed Mean Girls, you might get close to 13 Minutes.  There is a tangible overhanging cloud of suspense and always the chance that somebody will get pushed in the river.  The bitchiness of the school setting is fabulous as we follow the popular girls and we finally notice the invisible kids.  It took me back (in the distant past) to my school days and I'm sure we were never as bad as this but then I look at my school photos and can't remember the names of everybody on there.  Perhaps others can't remember my name so, for me, 13 Minutes gives a shout out for invisible girls everywhere - we can see you!

Definitely a recommended read for those readers who like something a bit on the dark side with lots of twists and surprises.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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