Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Synopsis: 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 her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?
I’ve been a fan of Sarah Pinborough for years, and have come to realize one thing when picking up one of her books: expect the unexpected. 13 Minutes, which I believe is her first YA novel, is full of secrets, lies and deception, which makes it a perfect read for fans of Pretty Little Liars.
I have to be honest and say this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, mainly because of the characters. Natasha, Jenny, and Hayley, aka The Barbies, at first come across as your typical mean girls. You really don’t find out what truly makes them tick until the second half of the book. Becca, who used to be BFFs with Queen Bee Natasha’s, before she was kicked to the curb for not fitting ideals of physical attributes, is the one I emotionally connected with the most. She’s a deeply flawed character, but I completely understood some of her questionable actions and decision making. I found myself not only emphasizing with her, but also rooting for her.
The majority of adult characters are in the background as is expected in a YA novel, but I was appreciative that for the most part they were portrayed realistically instead of cardboard cutouts which I’ve been finding in so many YA books lately.
The plot kept me guessing the entire time I was reading. It seems like the central mystery is solved about 60% of the way in, but it’s not. While shortly after that point, I began figuring out what really happened, the hows and whys continued to elude me until shortly before the end.
And, that ending! I still can’t decide whether I loved it or hated it. While the mystery is solved, there are some loose ends that Pinborough left dangling, I suspect deliberately so. It was brilliant yet frustrating at the same time.
I think with 13 Minutes, Sarah Pinborough has again showed herself to be a master of psychological thrillers. She does a great job at getting into the heads of her YA characters and bringing them to life, and if you’re a parent this may leave you wondering what’s really going on in your teenagers lives. Although this is a YA book the story is quite complex and I think adult readers will enjoy this. It seems as though Netflix is going to be making a series from this and I’m hoping they do it justice.
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