After reading Sarah Pinborough’s adult book, Behind Her Eyes, I was fascinated by her as a writer, and when I found out that she had a young adult novel coming out, I put it on my To Buy List right away. I was lucky enough to receive an eArc through Net Galley. I flew through it in two days, and I’ve got some thoughts. 13 Minutes is on sale everywhere October 3, 2017.
13 Minutes is a modern Mean Girls with some psychological twists. Natasha Howland was dead in the river for 13 minutes, but now she’s alive, and the police are trying to figure out how she got in the river in the first place. Who would want to hurt her? Well, as Natasha and her former best friend Becca begin to suspect, it could be Natasha’s best friend, her fellow Barbies, Jenny and Haley. As Tasha and Becca get closed to the truth, it becomes clear that things are not as they seem among the friend group. There’s drug, sex, and murder on the mind and no one is safe.
This book alternates between Natasha’s first person point of view in her diary, interviews with detectives and therapists, and third person looks at Becca Crisp and the man who found Natasha in the river, Jamie. While I usually like multiple points of view, these felt a little overwhelming and many times the interviews with detectives and therapists felt like cop-outs to avoid riding full-fledged prose on the issue. Natasha’s diary entries were interesting and played an important part of the story later on, though.
Because I’ve read Sarah Pinborough’s work before, I knew to expect a twist in the final pages, but this one left me feeling even more confused than the twist at the end of Behind Her Eyes, which was seriously a doozy. However, when it is finally revealed how Natasha went into the river, it was a bit anticlimactic. I had figured that out pretty early on, when a major arrest was made halfway through the book and there was still a bit to go, so I knew how it had to end. There’s a brief distraction with another body found in the river, but it is ultimately dealt with in a quick and easy way, clearing the way for the truth about Natasha and her friends. If you’ve never read a Pinborough book before, you might enjoy the ending more, but it was just what I expected from her and was ultimately a bit disappointed in the ending, even if I did enjoy the book overall. It’s not the next great thriller of American classic, but it’s perfect for people who like suspense and doubt and high school drama.
The film rights for 13 Minutes have been boughthave been bought by Netflix and some of the people attached so far include the creators of the Gossip Girl TV series, which would be a fascinating pairing. 13 Minutes is more Mean Girls than Gossip Girl, and a lot less luxurious and much more gritty, but I can see the appeal.