Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: October 18, 2007

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.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

I’ve had emotional reactions to books before, but nothing quite like I have felt from reading Thirteen Reasons Why. 

I become instantly invested in this story.  I needed to know why Clay was one of the Thirteen Reasons as much as he did.

I became empathetically tied to Clay.  I hurt for him, and I was tortured with him.  He is the reason I continued to read this book, the reason I held on as long as I did.  He’s the only character that I felt sorry for.  He grew through the experience, and the goodness that was him permeated every word that Asher wrote about Clay.  He’s the true hero of the story, if there is one at all.  He’s the only character that I didn’t hate on some level.

I didn’t understand Hannah.  Sure, the stuff that happened to her and around her was bad.  She internalized so much of it, let it push her to the edge.  There were several times in her telling her story that she said things like this:

I think I’ve made myself very clear, but no one’s stepping forward to stop me. (page 280).

But I don’t think she did ever make herself clear.  I felt like she was blaming everyone else for her decision to end her life.  And that got on my nerves.  Hard.  I don’t like a “woe is me” pity party.  Man up, grow some balls and deal with it.  Learn from it.  Grow through it.  Hannah is my biggest issue with this story.  It’s possible, though, that I just don’t understand what it’s like to be in that place where suicide feels like your only way out.  I’ve never been there.

Thirteen Reasons Why is written so that we see both Hannah’s story via the tapes she leaves and Clay’s thoughts and memories as he’s listening to them.  It was a little confusing at first, but quickly enough I got with the program and made it through.  I devoured this book.  I don’t think I’ve read a book this fast.  Ever.  I mean it was addictive.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

5 Moons: You don’t need 13 reasons why to read this book, just one: you will not be the same.


1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that you ended up liking the story in spite of your problems with Hannah.

    I read this years ago but I remember loving it.


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