Fiction Book Reviews

Literary Fiction | Hurry up and Wait | Isabel Ashdown

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Having enjoyed Isabel Ashdown’s first book ‘Glasshopper’, I was excited to have been chosen by Isabel to win a copy of Hurry Up and Wait.

Book cover Hurry up and Wait by Isabel Ashdown

In her eagerly anticipated second novel, Mail on Sunday Novel Competition winner Isabel Ashdown explores the treacherous territory of adolescent friendships and traces the repercussions of a dangerous relationship across the decades. It’s been more than 20 years since Sarah Ribbons last set foot inside her old high school, a crumbling, Victorian-built comprehensive on the south coast of England. Now, as she prepares for her school reunion, 39-year-old Sarah has to face up to the truth of what really happened back in the summer of 1986…

Hurry up and Wait by Isabel Ashdown is published by Myriad Editions and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.

Review

I couldn’t put it down ……………..  having started reading on Monday evening, it was the first thing I did on waking Tuesday.  Throughout the day I picked it up and had finished by that evening.  It enthralled me.

Even though Hurry up and Wait is set in the 1980’s, you don’t have to remember that time period to enjoy it.  Everyone will identify with the friendships of Sarah, Kate and Tina in their fifth year at secondary school.  Everyone will have had similar experiences in school as well – and the fascination with the opposite sex (unavoidable really with all those rampaging hormones!).  The majority of us have also had part-time jobs while still at school and will understand from a distance how other people’s jealousies play out.

The story starts in 2010 when Sarah and John are travelling to and waiting to go to their school reunion.  We know from Sarah’s outward physical signs that this is something she is not looking forward to and has a great deal of discomfort attached to.  We leave them in the car while we journey back in time to the summer holidays of 1985 and through to the end of the fifth year.

What follows is a story that builds in intensity, leading us along a path of friendships, betrayal and finally exposes the vulnerability and naivety of teenage girls.  Eventually, 24 years later,  we are back at the school reunion with flashbacks to the last day of school.

All the characters in the story are so true to life.  We’ve all met girls (and those girls who are exactly the same in adulthood) like Kate.  Kate who is charismatic and pulls you in despite her unpredictability; Tina who is the eternal side-kick and Sarah who is sometimes a part of the twosome and sometimes banished.  The characters on the periphery of the story are just as fully-rounded and identifiable.

There are sub-plots running alongside the main one – I can guarantee you won’t be bored!  I love the fact that nothing is explained to us in black and white – it is all by inference.  Isabel Ashdown’s writing flows and you find yourself carried along on her words with vivid pictures in your mind. 

This has to be my favourite read this year and I know the story will keep coming back into my thoughts.  Highly recommended.


I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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