Review of 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Published: 18th February 2016
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 416


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?


Thank you to Orion for kindly sending me a review copy.

The intriguing narrative begins with a dog walker discovering a young girl’s body in an icy cold river before the plot introduces a string of text messages between two girls, Jenny and Hayley. What exactly has gone on? How did Natasha end up dead for 13 minutes before being reduced in a coma? It was a very captivating opening to the whirlwind narrative. The readers are quickly introduced to another young female character, Becca – she’s 16, has an older boyfriend, smokes god knows what and is an old friend of Natasha’s. The possibilities of what happened to her are endless and the guessing game had officially begun. I couldn’t wait to discover what had gone on.

“We’re just machines aren’t we? I was dead for thirteen minutes. That must mess up the wiring.”

The point of view changes quite frequently in the plot and to be completely honest, I loved it. If Sarah had kept either Becca or Natasha as the constant narrator, the readers would have been lost and not felt the connection. With the several different view points, it added to the excitement of the plot and the unknown events which would unfold. It was almost as if they were all the little people inside Natasha’s head, desperately trying to figure out why she was dead for 13 minutes.

“A voice I knew I should know. Closer. And then I screamed silently into the dark.”

As the narrative reveals that another girl has been found in the river, the mystery of who may have killed these two girls (and failed with Natasha) might be. A name was dropped by the police but I instantly dismissed it as too obvious, the plot wouldn’t be that easy to figure out and as a Pretty Little Liars fan, I enjoyed that aspect of the book. When Natasha and Becca team up to work out the mystery, it really did feel like two old friends where reuniting for the great good and together, they made a brilliant duo. Usually, when a main character struggles to remember events of a particular time it becomes annoying and frustrating for the reader to continually have to read the words “I can’t remember,” but with Natasha, there was none of that. In her own time, Sarah allowed the timings of the plot and remembering to be spot on and it was only when an incident occurred that the lightbulb came on.

“We have secrets together now. We should at least be Facebook friends.”

Just when you think the narrative can’t get any better, it does and oh my – it’s on level with Pretty Little Liars. When Becca begins to add the jigsaw pieces together about Natasha’s incident in the river, it doesn’t seem to add up. Becca very quickly became in charge of the mystery and it was flipping brilliant to read. I honestly didn’t think the drama could get any better, but it did, it continued to be mind blowing.

“But this way, she’d get to play her own game. Time to get even.”

Overall, I think this is a favourite thriller of mine. The ending was shocking, dramatic and you were left wanting more.. Which girl? That is my question to you Sarah, I’m desperate to know. The writing was spot on all the way through the plot from beginning to end and I didn’t feel lost within the characters lives at all. Everything about the book was perfect and I just cannot describe how much I enjoyed it. Well, put it this way: it was better than the CeCe being A reveal..

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