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Hurry Up and Wait [Paperback]

Isabel Ashdown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

16 Jun 2011
In her eargerly anticipated second novel, Mail on Sunday Novel Competition winner Isabel Ashdown explored 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...

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Hurry Up and Wait + Glasshopper (Myriad Editions) + Summer of '76
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: MYRIAD EDITIONS (16 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956251552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956251558
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"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 in 1970 and grew up on the south coast of England. She is the author of three novels - Glasshopper, Hurry Up and Wait, and Summer of '76 - and winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition 2008, judged by Fay Weldon and the late Sir John Mortimer. Her latest book, Flight, will be released in May 2015 (Myriad Editions).

Isabel is Writer in Residence at University of Brighton and she now lives in West Sussex with her carpenter husband, their two children and dogs. She is represented by Kate Shaw of the Viney Literary Agency, London.

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

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

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.

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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 A sparkling 80s novel 12 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Hurry Up and Wait' is a totally compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read. In the company of Sarah Ribbons, we journey back into an era of iconic music, fashion and for many of us, memories of adolescence and school days.

Although the plot turns on an underlying threat to the young Sarah and her friends, Isabel Ashdown treats the subject with subtlety and compassion thus creating a lightness of touch which complements the dark side of Sarah's adolescent experiences and renders it much more real.

The narrative is cleverly constructed within the framework of a school reunion, which increases the suspense throughout the novel. I had to sit on my hands to resist the urge to see how the characters had fared after 25 years. Sarah's experiences are threaded with humour and glorious 80s detail, which is a complete joy for those of us who were also teenagers during that era, evoking many personal memories from that time.

Isabel Ashdown is a keen observer of life and relationships and she has reproduced them here in a refreshingly different context. I loved Hurry Up and Wait and I can't wait to read more of her work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was taken right back into the fragile nature of being a teenager reading this. Oh, those twist and turn friendships and how important they seemed at the time. The insecurity of going into school not knowing if you will be included today. A school reunion triggers this story of Sarah's schooldays. I nodded, smiled and cringed along, reminded by the evocative writing of how tough a learning process we go through on the cusp of adulthood. The story of the relationship that Sarah has with her father is a wonderful to read and accurate portrayal of the ups and downs of family life.
Something about this book made me want to relive my childhood reading habit of savouring the book, eking it out to relish quiet moments curled up on the sofa or sun-lounger with a snack. Didn't last long as I couldn't make myself wait to read it all but probably just as well given the number of ginger biscuits I can now munch while I read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read recently 7 July 2011
By sue
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Starting with a school reunion, the story weaves seamlessly between the present day, and school life and growing up in the 80's. The heroine, Sarah, is very sensitively drawn and takes me back to the uncertainties and friendships of my teenage years' Her relationship with her father is gently and beautifully described. As the story unfolds, we are there with Sarah, and it is very easy to see how and why things happen. As the story turns darker, it seems to pick up speed, and towards the end the momentum is unstoppable as the truth starts to dawn on the reader, with revelations that are at the same time both inevitable and shocking.
I didn't intend to read the book immediately, but having read the first lines, I was hooked and hardly put it down for three days until I had finished it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 hours ago by Mr. J. Pollard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read
Loved reading this and remembering the 80s!!!
Published 14 days 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 1 month 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 3 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 3 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 3 months ago by Ms P O'Malley
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok read
This book is quite light and did take me back to my schooldays. Characters were quite one dimensional though and, despite some interesting parts the overall plot was quite... Read more
Published 5 months ago by MISS M ELMER kittenelbow
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't hurry up to read this.
I had to review this book after a few chapters to make sure I wasn't reading a teenage novel. Very immature and bland. It's like an afternoon drama on the T.V. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gillian Cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
Really enjoyed this book. It was insightful, great references to the eighties, and a compelling plot. Hope to read more by Isabel Ashdown.
Published 6 months ago by SweetSeraphim
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent memory trip back to school
Petty squabbles , bullying and angst are all part of our school days whether you were there in the 60s ( as I was ) or , in this case , the 80s. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David H J Ashdown
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