13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Series: stand aloneGenre: psyhological thriller, mystery
Date of Publishing: February 18th 2016Publisher: Gollancz

Blurb

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.

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

Disclaimer/Personal Note

I was in need of a new audiobook, and Peter McLean kindly recommended a couple of mysteries/thrillers he recently enjoyed. Knowing his tastes, I knew I was in safe hands, and eventually picked up 13 Minutes as it seemed really interesting.

I also include this book into my Armed with a Bingo card, under the “A book that has a number in its title” square.

Song of the Book

When I started looking for a song, Going Under from Trapt came to mind, so I decided to run with it. I think it describes the relationships in 13 Minutes quite well.

Review

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve listened to 13 Minutes, but some of my thoughts and feelings are still very clear to me. At one hand, I was very intrigued by the plot and I remember I kept finding excuses to be able to listen longer than I planned each day. But on the other, I had issues which kept me from loving the book and giving a higher rating than I did. I sure have mixed feelings about this one.

13 Minutes‘ intricated plot follows many treads. At one hand we have the lead character, Natasha, the most popular girl in school, the leader of the Barbies. Who, due to an accident ended up being dead for 13 minutes and loosing her memories of the last 24 hours or so. Naturally she wants answers as to what happened and why her best friends act strangely around her. On the other we have Becca, once best friend of Natasha, who is pushed to the curb of school society, because she is not pretty enough. And despite the hurt Natasha caused her in the past, she still longs to be in their midst. The accident brings them closer again, but that’s really what she wants?

Every party involved in the mystery has their own secrets and ugly truths and as we get deeper in the main plot, the more it becomes clear that no one can be classified as only good or only bad. The surface can be deceiving and you really never can know what’s really in someone’s mind. 13 Minutes at heart is a YA Psyhological Thriller Mystery with petty teenage quarrels – I might have rolled my eyes a lot – but it’s also about the consequences of one’s actions as well as toxic relationships. Be it friendship, romantic relationship or parent children relations. 13 Minutes leans heavily on the friendship aspect, but we get from the others as well. It also brings in topics such as drugs, sex and mental abuse on a level. Nothing too explicit, but it’s definitely aimed for a more mature audience.

Maybe because I was more like Hannah in highschool – a side character and the only one I actually liked – a boring, plain bookworm and because I prefer a quiet drama free life, but I found the “friendships” portrayed horrifying. It’s crazy to imagine such toxic relationships exist, but as it stands, they most likely do. And often you don’t realise how toxic they are until it’s too late.

For me the twists were quite predictable, though even I didn’t see everything coming. But my biggest issue with 13 Minutes was the fact that I pretty much despised every character. I have no idea if this is how I was supposed to feel toward them – in which case I tip my hat before Sarah Pinborough as she did a splendid job at bringing these characters into life – or if I should have felt sorry for them. I’m also not sure if this tells more about me or the book. I definitely had feelings, and what more do you ask from a book?

But if you ask me, the way these girls treated the people around them who they called friends is just… not how you treat a friend (or anyone, really). And if nothing else, 13 Minutes should be a great bad example of that.

13 Minutes is what would happen if someone remade the Mean Girls as a psyhological mystery thriller, so if that’s your niche, then I definitely recommend checking it out.

Our Judgement

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