Hurry Up And Wait by Isabel Ashdown

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Hurry Up And Wait by Isabel Ashdown

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Schoolgirl Sarah spends a lot of time messing around with friends Kate and Tina in the school year back in 1986. Twenty years on, at a school reunion, Sarah is able to assess, with hindsight, the good bits, the bad bits and the downright ugly bits of that period in the 80s.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Myriad Editions
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0956251558

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Ashdown won the Observer Best Debut Novels of the Year with her book Glasshopper, an excerpt of which is given at the back of this book. I decided to read it first and I must say that I immediately warmed to Ashown's style of writing. She seems to have a knack for down-to-earth language especially with teenagers and young people. So, I was really looking forward to this book but I was also conscious of the fact that it had a lot to live up to. Will she be able to deliver?

The book opens with a few brief pages covering 2010 and the now-adult Sarah - but it doesn't tell the reader very much. And of course, that's the whole point. We are all now desperate to find out what went on back then. So obligingly Ashdown swoops back to 1985 and we are immersed in the school curriculum etc with Sarah and her two friends. I say the word 'friends' loosely, very loosely as they seem to be fairweather ones who are forever blowing hot and cold with Sarah. Poor Sarah and that's often how they would think of her. Sarah never really knows if she's one of the gang. She comes across in the book as a likeable, pretty and caring person so you could quite naturally ask - why doesn't she dump Kate and Tina and get herself some decent friends. Friends who would value her for herself. But then, that's part of the overall problem. Sarah has low self-confidence and even lower self-esteem. Her home life could be partly to blame. With a fuddy-duddy father, no mother and no other family members living nearby, she has no one to confide in - especially with those painful teenage issues.

So Sarah's situation remains unresolved. She ends up getting caught up in a rather adult situation. She makes a decision but it appears to be the wrong one. It's a decision she'll have to live with for the rest of her life.

Ashdown spends around three-quarters of the book back in the 1980s as we share the highs and lows, the boyfriends etc of the three girls. And Sarah's dangerous relationship (as it's described on the back cover) is indeed, dangerous. As a young and rather naive girl, she may not be aware of all of the dangers, but she certainly should be aware of some of them. It's all a little bit sad and a little bit tragic.

In my opinion Ashdown has done an excellent job with her characterisation. My sympathy went out to Sarah and as for the other two - little madams, the pair of them. They came across as sulky, lazy, selfish, cruel ... Especially Kate. But will she eventually get her comeuppance? And what stood out for me above all else, yes, even above the story (which was good but not first-class) was the dialogue. Natural and spot-on. I truly felt as if I was eavesdropping on these three girls.

The Friends Reunited touch at the beginning is good and draws the reader straight in to the story. Teenagers and their troubled friendships - with both sexes, are at its core. Very easy to read. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might like to try Delusions of Grandma by Carrie Fisher.

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Buy Hurry Up And Wait by Isabel Ashdown at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hurry Up And Wait by Isabel Ashdown at


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