Review: Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

Product Details:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 288
Publisher: October 18th 2007 by Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595141712
Source: library copy
Read it in 1 1/2 days
Thirteen Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Oh. My. Goodness.  This was such a great book! Why didn’t I read it before now? Shame on me.

As you’ve probably guessed, Hannah killed herself. What you (and the other characters) don’t know is why she did it. Until the tapes arrive. The stories that she shared are heartbreaking. Hannah refers to things as “the snowball effect” and that’s exactly what happened. There is no one specific event that caused her to want to take her own life. There were a compilation of many, many things that eventually weighed down on her.

The way this story was told was very original. I loved that Clay’s thoughts intermingled with Hannah’s stories. I really felt sorry for both characters. For Hannah, it was sad that she had to endure so much alone. For Clay, it was sad that he never found the courage to speak up, which might have been enough to save Hannah. As you read the book, you can’t help but think about your own life (especially your time in high school). What if that Senior Superlative spoof list you helped pass around in math class wasn’t a joke to everyone? What if that prank you thought was so innocent destroyed someone’s final chance of happiness?  What if all those times you thought you should speak up but never found the courage to do so didn’t work out in the end?

I had so many connections to this book while I read. It was almost like reliving my high school experience with every page. It’s hard to believe this was written by a debut author, because the skill and talent are amazing. I really hope to read more from Jay Asher in the future.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautiful way of making readers think about their actions. Everything has a consequence, whether it’s positive or negative, and you realize this through Hannah’s story.

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3 comments:

Christa @ Hooked on Books said... .

You're right this was such an amazing book and such a unique way of telling the story. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

July 4, 2012 at 9:06 AM
BURIED IN BOOKS said... .

Excellent review! You know depression does have a kind of snowball effect. It starts small, but every little thing becomes monumental so that things that would slide off someone else's back don't when you have depression. I have actually seen comments where people say "She didn't really have a good reason to kill herself." I almost cry when I see those comments. Those people are the same ones in the book that let Hannah slip through the cracks and missed her cries for help. I think like "Speak" this one will be relevant for a long time.

Heather

July 4, 2012 at 6:39 PM
The Flashlight Reader said... .

Heather, you know I love Speak. One of my all time faves. I would love to teach HS just so I could read this story aloud to the kids and hear their thoughts.
July 4, 2012 at 8:06 PM

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