Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: October 18, 2007
Source: Library
Other Books By Author:  The Future of Us
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



Goodreads says, "You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play. Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box with his name on it, outside his front door. Inside he discovers a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush. Only, she committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the first tape, Hannah explains that there are 13 reasons why she did what she did - and Clay is one of them. If he listens, Clay will find out how he made the list - what he hears will change his life forever."






Clay Jensen is your average high school senior.  One day he receives seven audio tapes to listen to.  Once he finds an old-school boom box, he realizes they are of Hannah Baker, a girl that recently committed suicide.  The tapes say that if you received them you are one of the reasons why she committed suicide.  This, obviously, throws Clay for a loop and he continues to listen trying to figure out not only why Hannah did what she did, but what he has to do with it.  The more he learns about Hannah's experiences, the sadder it gets.  Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why is a haunting book that fans of John Green will appreciate.

Clay is a character I immediately cared about in Thirteen Reasons Why.  We are along for the ride with him as he desperately tries to figure out why Hannah did what she did.  Clay isn't like the other people on Hannah's tape. Clay and Hannah were friends and nothing went awry; in fact, Clay had a huge crush on her. So, why did Hannah feature him on her tapes?  The plot builds and builds as Clay continues to listen to her tapes in order to figure out what made Hannah so desperate that she would end her life. 

Hannah is a complex character in Thirteen Reasons Why. Obviously, my heart broke for her as we learn about her high school experiences.  But at the same time, I was annoyed with her tapes being a sort of guilt trip.  I mean is she really blaming everyone for what her suicide? I am not sure I can get on board with that, because there is always another way, but nonetheless, all the emotion and all of her stories really touched me whether I agreed with her or not.  Needless to say, it's a heartbreaking story.

What is interesting about Thirteen Reasons Why is the way it is written. The narrative of Clay is sort of immersed with Hannah's story. It's a bit of a challenging read, but it worked for me and only added to the story's suspense. Once I got used to it, I was able to appreciate Asher's style even more.

I initially read Thirteen Reasons Why so that way I could compare it to the new show on Netflix and I am so glad I did. It's a powerful story and one that will haunt me for quite awhile. It makes you think about how you treat people and how everyone is going through something that you might not know about.  This book reminded me of a John Green novel and if you know how much I love John Green, then you know that this is high praise.  



8 comments:

  1. Great review! I still haven't read this but I really want to now. I don't want to watch the show until I've read the book. Sounds like a pretty depressing story.

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    1. I definitely wanted to read the book before I watch the show...I've been meaning to read this book for years! It is a bit depressing. :( I look forward to your thoughts though. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I've been wondering about this one as I never got around to reading it when it was released and I am kinda curious about the Netflix show. That said, it does sound depressing and I'm really not sure about the message it sends: commit suicide and then blame everybody else for it?! Or maybe there is more to the story than I'm assuming...!

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    1. I know! I never got around to it either. I am definitely curious about the show as well, which is why I wanted to read the book first. That's how I feel about it too...like she wants to blame everyone instead of owning it. I felt bad for all she went through, but I didn't get the whole blame game thing. There is definitely more to it though...you should give it a try! Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

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  3. Nice to see this as I just watched 13 Reasons on Netflix recently, and have wondered about the book. I had some issues with what Hannah did too, but at the same time I also thought it gets people to think about how they treat others, and the affect that can have. So it's a fascinating story in that regard. The show stuck with me after I watched it. And I also think it shines a light on how tough high school can be...

    Great review!

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    1. Yes, it does definitely make you think about how you treat people. I am excited to check out the show now. I am sure it's very powerful just like the book. Thanks for visiting, Greg!

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  4. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. It sounds a bit too depressing for my taste though.

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    1. Yes, it is a bit depressing, but a powerful read for sure. I think it's important too. Thanks for visiting, Laura!

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