I really don’t get why everyone likes this book. I bought it because of the gushing reviews and the small hype surrounding this book. It was almost always named together with One of us is lying and I enjoyed that book, so I thought I would like this as well. But no. And as such, this isn’t a ‘go read this book’ review. Instead, I will spoiler the crap out of 13 Minutes because sometimes that’s fun to write and read and that way, I can really tell why this wasn’t the book for me. From now on, there will be spoilers coming you way and if you’re not game for that, click away now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
13 Minutes, the story
I’m not even making the effort to write down the story so here’s what Goodreads has to say about it:
Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?
Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.
Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.
At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.
I hate all the characters
I don’t know if this was the intention of Pinborough but these are some hard to like characters. It’s OK that the main characters are bitchy since they are those kind of girls; they just aren’t nice. But I didn’t feel for any of them. Tasha and Becca are the worst main characters in a long time. I need the characters of a book to speak to me. I like to feel for them/like them/understand them/see myself in them. If a book has no characters whatsoever to relate to in one of those ways, it’s not a very good book. Becca is whining almost constantly and I totally get why Aiden broke up with her, she is just way too clingy and jealous. This was a bad relationship from the start.
But what I hated most about Tasha, Becca, Hayley, Jenny and Aiden is ALL THE DRINKING AND SMOKING. They are constantly smoking, drinking or even doing drugs. I honestly don’t get why a book with young adults as focusgroup would put that much alcohol, sigarets and drugs in one book. These are high school students. It’s not believable at all, it sets a wrong example for young readers and it just didn’t make any sense. 13 Minutes would have been exactly the same book without that excessive alcohol/drug abuse. I’m honestly still mad at this and I hated every scene where one of the characters smokes a cigarette, drinks or worse. WHY.
I honestly didn’t care at all who lived and who died, and what would happen to the characters. This made it a very long read for me, despite the fact that Pinborough’s writing style is good and original. I hope her next book will involve better characters.
That ‘plottwist’ was no surprise
Every positive review I’ve read so far, is swooning over that plottwist and that ending. But since Hayley and Jenny are arrested about halfway/three quarters into the book, it was very evident they weren’t the ‘killers’. If you’ve seen and read some detectives/thrillers this one wasn’t hard to figure out. Also because there weren’t any other suspects left besides Tasha, since everybody else was either too stupid or just a minor character. I hated the false diaries and the false text messages. But mostly, I hated Tasha’s motive. Even Regina George had more motive. So that made the overall plot just the worst.
This was 3/4 book of boring crap and terrible characters leading up to 1/4 of reading about why Tasha did it and how she did it. And if she was as smart as everyone says she is, there is no way in hell she would go into icy water. Not even for 1 minute. She would have found another way to get ‘killed’. There were too many flaws in her plan. I am a sucker for great plottwists but this was no twist at all. This was just getting to the only possible outcome of Tasha being behind it all.
Don’t get me started on the ending of 13 minutes
How STUPID can you be? No, but really? Because Becca was stupid as hell to think meeting near the lake at midnight was a good idea. If she wanted to record Tasha, she could have done that anywhere else. And was ‘clever and smart’ Tasha really going to believe that crapass story of Becca wanting to be friends again? It was evident from the beginning those girls would end up in the lake. And I hoped they would both die.
But, lucky for me, I got a final chapter from Tasha’s point of view. Ofcourse the voice speaking to her from the lake was… herself. Because why the hell not? Well, at least one of the characters died. 13 Minutes was such a huge waste of my time. If you want to read a YA ‘whodunnit’ go and pick up One of us is Lying. If you want to read a better YA, pick up almost any other book. I highly recommend The Crows duology: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Or, if contemporary is your thing, go and read Rainbow Rowell.