Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Book Review: 13 minutes by Sarah Pinborough
13 minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Paperback, 405 pages
Published July 2016 by Gollancz
US edition summer 2017
Sarah Pinborough is one of my favorite authors. So when I say this was not one of my favorites of her novels understand something. It is still a GREAT book and really that just says so much about her entire catalog.
13 Minutes is indeed a brilliant YA murder mystery. It is funny because it was marketed as YA,I believe that is because it is about teens. At the same time the paperback has "not suitable for younger readers." This book will be released in U.S. this summer and there is a degree that the YA classification could hurt it with adult readers. I hope not because what it says about teens in this social media era would be good for more adults to see.
This novel is a murder mystery that involves teens, social media and bullying. On the surface it is the story of Natasha a teen who is found in the river, brought back from the brink of death no memory of the events before she died for 13 minutes.
There is a cast of friends and frenemies who are involved. Being a modern tale of murder and teenage women alot of the story unfolds in text, social media and the like. Pinborough does an excellent job of using the different media to unfold the story. This is similar to the technique Stephen King made famous in his first novel Carrie. The POV switches are jarring at times sometimes feeling random but they are not at all random. Pinborough places the POV changes intentionally to drive the story and she is always in control.
This novel about teenage women in England feels correct but of course how do I know what those teens think like. that is important because the the motivations and the narrative drive are so closely tied to Becca an old friend of Natasha (the victim) and her group of friends who embrace the name "the Barbies" for their social circle.
The ending is not as jaw dropping as Pinbrough's next book Behind Her Eyes but that is OK not every ending has to be a stunner. it is just as good a feeling when the end of a book can get you to raise your eyebrow and say 'Huh.' I think this ending does a little more of that. 13 minutes has alot to say about the world teenagers live in, and one that i think would be good for young women to read even if some moments are intense. Adults have good reason to read it as well as a tiny window into the pressures of the cool kids at school in this modern world.
The murder, or attempted murder in this case is a Mcguffin that sets the wheels in motion. 13 minutes is an exploration of modern teenage social dynamic and in that sense it is a much deeper novel then it appears on the surface. Like I said at the start of this review this is probably my least favorite Sarah Pinborugh novel that I have read so far, that is not a insult by any means. The Dog Faced Gods trilogy is my favorite horror trilogy, Behind Her Eyes is a masterpiece and mayhem and Murder were excellent examples of an author stretching out of her comfort zone(by writing a period piece). So You know what 13 minutes is a great read and one you should check out...after Behind Her eyes if you are a thriller type. If you are horror reader start with A Matter of Blood. Either way read some Pinbrough.