Hurry Up and Wait, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


In her eagerly anticipated second novel Mail on Sunday Novel Competition winner Isabel Ashdown explores the treacherous territory of adolescent friendships, and traces across the decades the repercussions of a dangerous relationship. In August 1985, Sarah Ribbons celebrates her fifteenth birthday in the back garden of the suburban seaside house she shares with her ageing father.

As she embarks on her final year at Selton High School for Girls Sarah's main focus is on her erratic friendships with Tina and Kate; her closest allies one moment, her fiercest opponents the next as they compete for the attention of the new boy, Dante. When her father is unexpectedly taken ill, Sarah is sent to stay with Kate's family.

The girls have never been closer - until events take a sinister turn.

Now, as she prepares for her school reunion, thirty-nine-year-old Sarah has to face up to the truth of what really happened back in the summer of 1986.


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I enjoyed this somewhat powerful and intuitive coming of age story. It begins in 2010 with 39 year old Sarah Ribbons returning to the seaside town of her childhood to attend a reunion, which brings back some painful memories of her schooldays in the 1980s.I thought the title had an interesting metaphor. Most of us as teenagers are all too eager and in a rush to grow up. It's not until we are a little older that we realise just how fleeting youth is and that it is quite normal to make mistakes along life's journey, even if we sometimes cringe at the memories! Perhaps we should take a hint from the title and wait a little and not be hasty - enjoy life whilst we are still young, which, of course, is easier said in hindsight.The story gave a good sense of time and place and portrayed the 1980s effectively. I found it rather nostalgic as I remember them well myself. There were plenty of reminders of events gone by and there was also a smattering of name dropping, ie with regards to music, films, pop groups, food, etc. It was lovely to have a trip down memory lane and reminisce!I thought the characters were well drawn and I particularly liked Sarah, her father and also Sarah's friend in the chemist where she worked part-time, John Gilmore. I felt Sarah's angst as she wandered back in time - the wanting to fit it and belong, the bitchiness of her girlfriends and the roller coaster of emotions regarding boys. I thought she was quite a remarkable girl in a lot of ways as she had a fair amount to deal with.In a nutshell, it's an easy, compelling and captivating little read told with a touch of humour about all those feelings we have as young adults. It's a tale which should resonate with most people and I think there is much to discuss here within a book group. I look forward to reading further work by this author.Reviewed for Newbooks Magazine.

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