Book Review: 13 Minutes (Sarah Pinborough)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Gollancz

Pages: 320

Release Date: July 14th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?


This was one wild ride of a book that kept fooling me with each little red herring it threw.

I have to say, I got off to a rocky start with this one. It didn’t grab me from the beginning but I’m glad I persevered as it turned out to be amazing.

Sixth form student Natasha is found face down in a river and is technically dead for 13 minutes before being found and revived. Her best friends are acting suspicious and, with the help of an old friend, Natasha tries to find out what led her to her death.

The story is told in a really clever way so you don’t see the ending coming. It’s misleading at times and part way through I began to wonder what narration I could trust and what was leading me up the garden path. There are several different points of view in the book: first person from Natasha, third person POVs from her ex best friend Becca and Jamie, the man who found her in the woods, as well as transcripts from counselling sessions, extracts from Natasha’s diary, and texts between her best friends Hayley and Jenny. The story is pieced together in a way that worked brilliantly for building tension and mystery.

The characters in this book were all brilliantly thought out and well rounded. I enjoyed the narrative from Becca’s POV, although I sometimes disliked her personality: her naivety and jealousy regarding her boyfriend felt really childish and annoying – the kind of girl I’d avoid to be honest – but you have to love a character with flaws. I really loved Natasha: she was very clever in everything she did and the way her character evolved took me by surprise.

This is a thrilling story with lots of twists and turns that throw up something new each time. Whenever I thought I had the book sussed, something else came along and it turned out I was wrong – I really enjoyed this as I’ve been guessing twists in books a lot lately, so it’s good to read something that could surprise me! I think this book will appeal to adults as well as young adults as it’s so well crafted and clever. I really recommend this if you’re looking for something to keep you on your toes.


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