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13 minutes – sarah pinborough

January 24, 2016 Leave a comment
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13 Minutes – Sarah Pinborough

I received an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have never read any of Sarah Pinborough’s books before, but picked this one as it sounded like something that both myself and my 16 year old daughter could read and discuss – I read a lot of YA due to this 🙂

Teenage ‘Mean Girl’ and Queen Bee Natasha is found in the water by a dog-walker one early morning. She is revived but was dead for 13 minutes.

She can’t remember how she met her icy ‘death’, but is starting to mistrust her two closest friends who have been acting strangely around her since her ‘accident’, making her more dependent on her old geeky friend Becca. Could her friends have been attempting to kill her? Might they try again? Is she safe?

The story is told in a number of ways, mainly first hand by Becca, but also through transcripts of diary entries, counselling sessions and police interviews with Tasha. This gives the story a chance to give a multi-narrator view.

Having been one, I swear that teenage girls are one of the nastiest and hurtful groups of humans on the planet, and this book really encapsulates the underlying tensions that go on, in contrast to the veneer that they tend to show to the world.

I realised that there was going to be a twist when I got to about 80% and everything seemed to be wrapped up nicely – and it was a good one. Although I’d really enjoyed the story up to that point, it added another dimension and took it from good to great.

Well crafted characters – although almost all were completely unlikable and flawed, you really WANTED to know what happened, and what the outcome was going to be. A great skill for an author to have, and something that works really well in psychological thrillers such as this.

Beautiful cover too 😉

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough will be published on 18th February 2016.

smart – kim slater

May 20, 2014 1 comment

Smart

I received a review copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Kieran lives with his mum, her boyfriend Tony and Tony’s son Ryan. Kieran doesn’t like Tony and Ryan because they hit him and call him names. He wishes that he could get his mum away from them, so it would be just the two of them again – and maybe his nan, who fell out with his mum over Tony.

Kieran is probably around 11/12 and autistic. He finds it really hard to fit in and deal with everyday life, but he can draw like an artist – and his favourite artist is Lowry. He also like detective stories, so when he spots a body in the canal (a homeless man called Colin), he gets to detecting, to try to find out who murdered him. Colin’s friend ‘mad’ Jean is positive he’s been murdered, but the police wont listen. So Kieran uses his attention for detail and superb drawing skills to try to solve the case himself.

You can’t read this book without comparing it to The Curious Incident…but I tried hard to. It’s a completely different approach to the subject – for starters, Colin is an actual person, not a dog. And Kieran is that much younger than Christopher, which gives the whole story another level of naivety about it.

Kieran’s view on the world is simplistic, which means that he makes a great detective as he takes things on face value. His exemplary drawing skills can also convey so much more than the words that it would take him to explain the picture.  There’s some great Lowry factoids thrown in, just to tempt you to re-visit his paintings (so if this was written as a marketing ploy on behalf of Lowry’s estate, it’s worked!) 😉

He’s a great character, and his voice turns everyone around him into a great, obvious character. I know that the book is aimed at children / young adults, but sometimes it’s refreshing to read such an ‘easy’ book. Not that there weren’t thought-provoking elements. As a reader, you are still required to think behind some of the character’s actions, as Kieran doesn’t register some of the ‘social behaviour’ that would be obvious to most.

My 14 year old daughter has only just started it, but she’s loving it already, and she has no prior knowledge of The Curious Incident, so it will be interesting to hear her take on it.

And finally – just look at that cover, isn’t it wonderful? I know you should never judge a book blah blah blah, but I have to say that it was definitely a fact that swayed my desire to read it!

Smart by Kim Slater will be published on 5th June 2014.

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