This one is so good you feel like you need to be able to read it in 13 minutes just because you need to know what happened. It was one of the best YA books of 2016 and it’s not hard to see why.
The story follows 17 year old Tasha as she is pulled out of the river by a man walking his dog. She’s been dead for 13 minutes and she has no memory of what happened to her before she ended up in the river. Into the mix are Tasha’s best friends, Hayley and Jenny, who seem to have become secretive since the incident, and also Becca, Tasha’s best friend from year 7, who Tasha and Hayley ditched for Jenny.
If you remember anything from high school then this book will definitely resonate. It’s so true to life, well a more sinister side to life, but the characters live in a world that we know is real. Painfully real. Teenage girls are intense and this takes it to a whole new level.
You get different points of view along the way, sometimes it’s Tasha’s sometimes Becca’s. There’s text conversations or diary entries along with the narrative and the blend works so well. Neither medium is overdone – it’s that perfect balance between not giving too much away and making the reader want more. You see the relationship between Hayley and Jenny through their texts, but you only get enough information to make you wonder what happened all the more.
Becca takes on the task of trying to work out what happened, but there are so many twists that you have to stop trying to work it out and just enjoy the story. Or at least I did. It’s rare that a book can make me feel sick, but Pinborough ramps up the tension so much that you can almost feel what is going to happen next. It’s like watching a train wreck whilst being glad that you’re just the reader and safely disconnected.
Even though this is an extreme outcome of high school politics – not many teenagers resort to murder to sort things out, it is scarily believable. It’s not a huge step away from what actually goes on. There’s something intensely creepy about children that murder though. This book is talking about the upper end of childhood, but at 17 you’re not properly an adult yet and you shouldn’t be working out and then carrying through a murder. I know that happens in real life but it just seems more horrible than adult murder. Maybe because often it’s more psychopathic? In my exploration of crime fiction the stories that have spooked me the most are the ones that involved a child murderer. I remember watching an episode of Midsomer Murders where that happened and I couldn’t watch any more episodes for a while afterwards.
If you’re planning to read this maybe clear your diary for a while. You will want to read it quickly. It only took me a couple of sittings to get through it. It’s unbelievably compelling.