BOOK REVIEW: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough


Title: 13 Minutes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Publisher: Gollancz

Published: July 2016

RRP: £7.99

From multi award-winning author and script writer Sarah Pinborough, 13 Minutes is a thrilling psychological YA thriller about our most important relationships and what we really know about the people closest to us. A novel about manipulation and the power of the truth in the age of the smart phone and social media, 13 Minutes is a must read for teenagers and fans of enthralling domestic noir.

That is the publisher’s blurb about the book and I only disagree on one point. As a mid-30s reader I loved it!

The opening is the discovery of Natasha floating like Ophelia in a river. As her friends gather around her hospital bed, two are frantically texting each other  hoping that she will not find out what they have done- it seems.

This is a beautifully crafted thriller that has captured incredibly the strong emotions of the relationships between teenage girls. The intensity of feelings between the groups, the extreme loyalty that can turn to hate, the mini betrayals that mean everything in that transition to adulthood.  Deftly moving between the view points of different characters, each of which carries secrets and desires and the struggle of the selfishness of adolescence and the desire for gratification.

As secrets become exposed, the true evil of one of the protagonists emerges and the threat to life becomes horrifyingly real. Expertly interwoven is the use of texts between characters to further the intrigue. It also helps to make the novel disturbing in actually how plausible it is. With technology increasingly being used to either provide the image to society that we want to portray, to bully and troll others and cyber stalking, this novel is not far from reality and this only adds to the reasons why I could not put it down.

At one point I did wonder whether the fact that it was about the dysfunctional relationship of teenage girls was going to make the book too Point Horror but it never got cheesy or cliché. There was enough tension, deception and threatening menace to keep even the most hardened thriller reader on the edge of their seat. Don’t start reading this book too late at night or you will be up to the small hours waiting to find out who will win.

Rating: 5/5

Reviewer: The Aviator

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