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Hurry Up and Wait [Kindle Edition]

Isabel Ashdown
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

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.

It's more than twenty 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.

August 1985: Sarah celebrates her fifteenth birthday in the back garden of the suburban seaside house she shares with her ageing father. As she embarks on her fifth and 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 in nearby Amber Chalks. Kate's youthful parents welcome her into the comfort of their liberal family home, where the girls can eat off trays and watch TV in Kate's bedroom. They've never been closer -- until a few days into her stay, events take a sinister turn, and Sarah knows that nothing will ever be the same again.

Product Description


With strong characters, a cleverly constructed story and masses of period detail, this vivid evocation of life in 1985 is a fine second book from a writer who first won The Mail On Sunday Novel Competition. --Daily Mail

Ashdown's depiction of a vulnerable teenager and the magnetic pull of a toxic friendship will have you wincing with recognition. --Glamour

Haunting fiction. --Stylist

Funny, insightful and often tragic. A fascinating book whose apparent simplicity masks complexity as it reveals once again the strength of Ashdown`s talent as a perceptive and engaging writer. This is a fitting second novel from the author of the acclaimed Glasshopper and will appeal to personal readers and book clubs alike. --NewBooks Magazine

Ashdown's début novel Glasshopper was named as one of the best books of 2009, and this well-crafted follow-up doesn't disappoint. --Heat

Isabel Ashdown's Glasshopper was one of our favourite reads of 2009, and her second novel is another mix of compelling characters and 1980s nostalgia. --Bella

Bursting with schoolgirl preoccupations of the 1980s - Andrew Ridgeley, Ryvita and rude words on the toilet wall - this lively journey through the embarrassments of growing up is tightly entwined with a darker tale. Sarah Ribbons is now 20 years older and wiser than her teenage self and has returned home for a school reunion. But what is it that is upsetting her so profoundly? --Sainsbury's Magazine

In Hurry Up And Wait Isabel Ashdown has produced a perfectly pitched trip back to the mid-eighties.

Isabel Ashdown has captured every heartbeat of the uncertainty and excitement of growing up. Duplicitous friendships, awakening sexuality and the trials of school and exams are all depicted as Sarah's story unfolds.

The storyline starts at a school reunion taking place twenty years later. Through this section the secrets of the past are finally revealed and Sarah's story finds its resolution. Anyone who has ever attended a reunion with ambivalent feelings in their heart will identify strongly with this section.

I really enjoyed Isabel Ashdown's first novel, Glasshopper but, if anything, would have to say Hurry Up And Wait is even better. I loved everything about it. --Bookersatz

About the Author

ISABEL ASHDOWN lives in West Sussex with her carpenter husband and two children. She worked in product marketing for 15 years, until in 2004 she gave up her senior management role to write. Her first novel Glasshopper (Observer 'Best Debuts of 2009', Evening Standard 'Best Books of the Year') was published to rave reviews in 2009 and an extract from the novel won the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 535 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0956251552
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (16 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WB7HF2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,287 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"Tender and subtle ... Ashdown tiptoes carefully through explosive family secrets" - Observer

"Ashdown's storytelling skills are formidable; her human insights highly perceptive" - Mail on Sunday

"Funny, insightful and often tragic" - New Books Magazine

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the south coast of England. She is the author of four novels and winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her debut, Glasshopper, was named as one of the best books of 2009 by both the Observer and the London Evening Standard. In 2014 Isabel was Writer in Residence at the University of Brighton, where she now continues to teach on their Creative Writing MA.

Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of the Viney Literary Agency, London. Her fourth novel, Flight, will be released in May 2015 (Myriad Editions).

You can find out more at or follow her on twitter or Facebook.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don' t Wait To Read It! 16 Jun. 2011
I'm not usually someone who makes time to write reviews. But every now and then I read something that truly sticks with me long after I've finished it: for all the right reasons. Hurry Up And Wait does just that. It brilliantly captures an experience of the mid 80's (without the clichés) fast-tracking me straight back to my own teens of the same period. Without doubt this feels like a real place, with real and believable people. The insights are both ordinary and amazing. The themes enormous yet mundane. This moving story gripped me from the first to last page.

The book takes place at the start of the hot summer holidays - past scenes spliced with present day perspectives make up the plot, naturally criss-crossing time. As the character switches from past to present, the tale tells of some of the journeys that we make through life. As a teenager - I would have loved this. It doesn't patronise and talks with an authentic voice. It tackles rites of passage and brings back blushingly embarrassing memories!

What I really liked about this book was the way in which the author dealt with the main character. It illustrates a point in history when the idea of strong women had become quite normal, yet the world of becoming a woman can still, at times, be terrifying. Now that I've had time to digest the enormity of what happens in this book I have an ever increasing urge to pick it and start again!

This book is a perfect read for the summer ahead and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eighties schoolgirl drama 30 July 2011
By Love Books VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The main part of this book is set in the mid-eighties, when Sarah Ribbons and her friends were young teenagers. At either end is a modern day section, the first is where Sarah and her escort arrive at a school reunion, and the last part is about what happens when they go into the school and meet their teenage friends and acquaintances, now all grown up.

The key story is Sarah's experiences of growing up in a seaside town, her relationships with her friends and their families, first boyfriend and so on, with one single major plot point around which the whole story revolves.

The reviews here are so positive, that I was perhaps expecting a bit too much from this book. I'd also just read The End of Everything which covers similar territory in such an excellent way that it was a hard act to follow.

Good things about this book are Sarah's relationship with her widowed father, which is very touching, and her dog, Ted. I liked the ending too, which leaves the two most likeable characters open to the possibility of a happy ending.

On the other hand, I found the constant eighties references a bit clunky and irritating, as if the author felt it necessary to mention every pop band, product and fashion trend of that period to make the story believable. I also found some of the teenage friendships unrealistic and unbelievable and the whole feel was a little rushed.

However it is a good read, and I recommend it and look forward to reading more books by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 3 Oct. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The painful vulnerability of an isolated teenage girl in the 1980s is here brought to life in light, simple strokes which hide a deeper shadow whose consequences are seen in the "2010" chapters.

There are huge elements of fun in this story: the various nods to life in the eighties: lipstick, music, fashion and hairstyles set the period of the work brilliantly; the echoing refrain of "Sunday Girl" had me walking round the house singing for days after I had finished reading. Along with the breathless discos and bright youth club Ashdown deftly weaves in the hilarity of school life: turning in comedy homework safe in the knowledge it will never be read; scrawling graffiti in the toilet cubicles; bitchy comments between "friends" and barbed retorts to teachers: the sharp detail breezed away the cobwebs to my own schooldays.

By turns touching and funny, Ashdown expertly depicts life in the two-faced world of teenage girls which will resonate with women regardless of the decade in which they went to school. The character of Kate is vivid and poisonous: the queen bee who haunts school toilets across the country, and echoes through time. I loved Kate. Bitchy, cruel, underhand and selfish she sends ripples of unease and unhappiness through her classmates. Her duplicitous nature remains largely unchallenged during her school days, and backed up by her faithful sidekick Tina she causes willful damage to her classmates.

Jason, Kate's father, is a grown up version of his daughter. He too is vain, selfish and self-involved, using the people around him for his own ends. He and Kate are the cause of much of the heartache in the novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurry Up and Wait - Isabel Ashdown 7 July 2011
Being a teenager of the 80's I had a lot of fun reading Hurry Up and Wait taking a trip down the proverbial Memory Lane. Not just for the fashion, the music and social references but for the re-ignited feelings of fickle teenage friendships, falling in love not to mention falling out of it, shifting relationships with parents and adults and thinking I was already grown up and knew it all!

Hurry Up and Wait, although set in the 1980's, could actually be set just as well in the 1990's or 2000's - the events could be played out in any era as, fundamentally, the teenage angsts and crux of the story are timeless.

The story starts at a school reunion in 2010 where the main character, Sarah Ribbons, hooks back up with old friends. From the start there is the sense that Sarah is not exactly looking forward to it - something happened in the past, in the summer of 1986, that has not yet been resolved.

The reader is then taken back to the mid-80's where Sarah is 15 and attends the local high school with her friends Kate and Tina, although Sarah feels slightly on the outside, never truly comfortable within her peer group. Their everyday teenage life is depecited with an honesty and accuracy, showing the complexities and loyalties of friendship and love.

Essentially, this is a coming of age story where Sarah finds herself being drawn into a situation which as adults we can look at and the alarm bells ring madly, but as a teenager Sarah feels she is old enough to deal with.

The last part of the book comes full circle and is set back at the reunion where Sarah faces up to what happened all those years ago.

I really enjoyed reading Hurry Up and Wait. I felt the characters were realistic, the dialogue spot on and the relationship Sarah had with her father to be a candid portrayal - one of embarrassment and irritation at times but also one of a deep sense of love. Yep I can relate to that!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not read yet
Published 24 days ago by gizmo
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable and engaging - recommended
An enjoyable book written with great insight.
I'm not usually keen on the present tense in books but the story and the characters made this an engaging book that I have... Read more
Published 3 months ago by sam t
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!
Loved this book!
Published 4 months ago by hellok
3.0 out of 5 stars 1980s memories
As somebody who lived through the 80s as a teenager, I could recognise and relate to much of went on in this story. Read more
Published 6 months ago by E.Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
It only took me a couple of days to read this book.

I would recommend that you do too.

I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Published 6 months ago by Mr. J. Pollard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read
Loved reading this and remembering the 80s!!!
Published 6 months ago by Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read!
This is the second Isabel Ashdown book I've read, having previously read Glasshopper. A lovely read, a great storyline with beautifully descriptive language that took me back to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. R. M. Weston-walker
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale to tell
An excellent read , a sympathetic approach to a difficult subject..greatly satisfying when : the perpetrator had a kind of justice metered out and ghosts are laid to rest
Published 9 months ago by Waggermags
4.0 out of 5 stars hurry up and wait
I loved this book. It took me back to that time where love was new and exciting. Where friendships were explored. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Debbie
4.0 out of 5 stars Hurry Up and Wait
Such a great portrayal of a time and place and the pain of adolescence, friendships and the weight of secrets. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ms P O'Malley
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