13 Minutes: Book review

Book review: 13 minutes by Sarah Pinborough

What is this about?: Tasha is revived 13 minutes after drowning. After her experience, she sets about trying to figure out what happened to her. She draws in Bec, a former best friend into her investigation and a whole lot of mayhem occurs after.

What else is this about?: Just how messed up teenage girls get. You know the relationships in school that were toxic, but you couldn’t let them go? Yeah those.

Stars: 4/5. Because nothing in this book is what it seems, and Sarah Pinborough has written an exquisite story that is going to mess with you.

Blurb: 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?

Bec is the former BFF of her school’s Queen Bee, Tasha. Despite their differences and the break down of their friendship, when Tasha is rescued after drowning, Bec goes to visit her, and gets drawn into Tasha’s investigation to find out what happened before she drowned.

Theirs is a friendship that’s a little like slipping on an old coat, and as comfortable as it seems and as much as you want to ignore how it doesn’t fit any more, it really doesn’t. It’s just not you, no matter how hard you try — and no matter how hard Bec tries. Tasha is charismatic, fun and popular and here’s where the author is absolute masterful in the way she hones in on what those types of friendships are like, on what teenage girls desperate to be liked, and to be part of the in-crowd are like.

And more importantly, what Queen Bees are like as well.

You’ll understand exactly why Bec does what she does, and you’ll know why she shouldn’t, but that’s the beauty of the author’s writing and understanding of her characters and what relationships are like at that age.

It’s hard to tell you more without giving away some masterful twists — and this is the difference with the authors and books that loudly proclaim twists and the like, and how they’re like Gone Girl yadda yadda yadaaa… they all started with a twist, and worked a narrative to fit that twist for me as a reader because everyone is so desperate to be the next OMFG book. It didn’t work, and it was detrimental to plots that had potential. Here, Sarah Pinborough weaves a cunning story, that just so happens to have what everyone is after — getting that ever-elusive OMFG moment in their readers.

Read it, and then tell everyone you know about it. Believe the hype — it’s just that good.


  • I love the cover of this book. The plot sounds pretty mysterious, too.

  • I have not seen this one before! It actually sounds like an important read that all teens should read. I am definitely adding this one to the TBR!

    • Verushka says:

      It takes the messiness of friendships and turns it up to 11, Olivia, so I’m not sure how reflective it is of reality by the end, but the friendships through the book towards its conclusion certainly were familiar and realistic. It’s really hard to describe without giving everything away!

  • Ahh, so want to read this. I have a copy, but the NG kindle version is blah, so I’ll have to buy my own copy instead. I know what you mean about others trying to be the next IT in psych thrillers, andlet’s be honest, they usually fall short. I recently read Take the Fall and called the twist at 12%, even though it probably would’ve had that OMFG factor if I didn’t read so much of them.

    • Verushka says:

      They so fall short and I’m left banging my head against the wall at the hype and “the twist, oh the twist” *rolls eyes* This one, I appreciated, because of the vibe/atmosphere the author managed… and if I tell you any more, I’ll spoil too much 🙂 But I hope you like it!

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