In the mid eighties Sarah Ribbons was in her last year of school in a quiet seaside town. Her world was painted beautifully, rich with
so many details of music, fashion, gadgets, all of the things that matter when you’re sixteen.
And it was easy to warm to Sarah. She was so empathic, so real from the start that I couldn’t help feeling involved and reacting emotionally to everything that happened to her.
She lived with her father, an academic who had become a parent late in life and who struggled with the responsibility for all that he loved her dearly. Even though she was all he had. Sarah’s mother had died soon after she was born, her father wouldn’t speak of her, and Sarah was reluctant to upset him by pressing for answers.
And Sarah had to deal with school-friends who were fickle at best and duplicitous at worst, with strange new emotions, with the behaviour of adolescent boys, with her father’s new lady-friend, with the trials of school and exams …
Every detail is captured perfectly, and every character was utterly believable, and I loved the way that Isabel Ashdown twisted her story, sometimes taking the obvious route and sometimes not.
I hoped that Sarah would forge ahead, but I had to watch her downfall instead.
I knew that it would come – in the opening chapter I met the adult Sarah, coming home for a school reunion after nearly twenty years away, and wondering if she was doing the right thing – but I still hoped that it wouldn’t.
The closing chapter, at the school reunion, tied things up beautifully. It was a most satisfactory ending, but I was sorry that I had to part company with Sarah.
I had been utterly caught up in her world. Because the people, their relationships, their dialogues were so utterly real. Because I had been swept away to that seaside town in the eighties.
Lovely writing brought everything to life, and everything rang true. It made me believe, and it made me care.
Hurry Up and Wait is, quite simply, a gem.