13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough (2 out of 5) 

One of two books that I have read in the past four days that have been beyond reproach in giving multiple characters reams of human cruelty that tied up the entire story into a knot that couldn’t be undone. No, this isn’t an adult suspense thriller. It is a young adult/teen novel. This same author wrote one of my favorite books this year, January’s “Behind Her Eyes”. This was not that. 

Tasha is rescued from a cold lake by a passerby who sees her body floating in cold weather. Somehow, despite being dead for 13 minutes, she is brought back. Her best friends Jenny and Hailey (known as “The Barbies”) aren’t acting the same since she came back from the dead. Tasha feels a need to reconnect with her former best friend Becca (who had been frozen out as best friend by Tasha when the other two came along), and does so. This leaves Becca’s quiet and shy best friend Hannah feeling worried and she tries to warn Becca to be careful, for she does not trust the Barbies. Throw in Becca’s boyfriend, who once asked Tasha out, only to be publicly rejected and humiliated. The school play leads into all sorts of situations, from drug use to thinking of the hot teacher whom the girls would love to sleep, and the bullying that goes on between all of them. For as much as I enjoyed the character of Becca, her insecurities cloud her judgment way too much for my liking. Tasha is quite a puzzle, as are the other girls. I’m also not sure I should have solved the puzzle. The main goal of the book is for Tasha to recover her memory of what happened to her leading up to the 13 minutes when she died. Becca tries to help, but things take one strange turn. And then another. And yet another. And while I’m as fond of Chinese logic puzzles as the next person, this is illogical torture. In the way of moving plot along, yes, bring it on. This was not the case. It was complete chaos, this book. The cover likens it to “Mean Girls”. Maybe with the bullying and cliques, sure, but I LIKED that movie. This book was full of spinning hatred, ulterior motives, and pure evil. When the big reveal happens, well, let’s just say it was the final straw. When you have people in mortal danger and you hope they go the way of the Reaper, then you know you’ve disconnected from the book entirely. The two stars are for the characters of Becca and Hannah, who saved some of this. Some, not all. 

The book is out in hardcover now. 

~ by generationgbooks on December 8, 2017.

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