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Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Pub Date: Oct. 18,2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 304
 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.


Suicide. This book focuses on a girl named Hannah’s suicide. Suicide is not a joke, nor is it something to be played off nonchalantly. Suicidal thoughts can be found in the preppy heiress or the girl with nothing left to lose. It doesn’t matter. You know that girl who’s always smiling and never gets mad? Five bucks says that she’s gone through something terrible. Something that if you haven’t gone through yourself, you wouldn’t understand. I will warn readers that this review may have some personal and also may be sort of long.

    But suicide doesn’t just affect the person who’s committing. When you put that gun in your mouth, pop that handful of pills, or submerge yourself in that bathtub, you’re making a choice that everyone else has to live with. It’s like making a big mistake and then leaving so everyone else can pick up the pieces. People don’t know this, though. They usually think “another suicide, I feel so bad for this person,” that is, if it’s a good person’s thoughts. But this is someone who doesn’t know the victim directly. This is a story of a person and how he had to deal with the suicide of someone whom he could’ve helped.

    We start with our main character, Clay. He receives a set of tapes from the late Hannah Baker. These are tapes that are meant for people, 13 different people or more specifically, the 13 reasons why she committed suicide.

    Clay is a person who is as affected from Hannah’s suicide as everyone else and possibly more. He actually liked her, but never fought hard enough. So from that, how guilty do you think this guy is? And how do you think he’d feel, knowing that the reason he has the tapes is because he was one of the reasons Hannah committed. His thoughts were chaotic at some moments. I felt it real and genuine, the way he was acting. You’re supposed to be distraught over the things people did.

    Hannah has a voice of a person who just wants to be loved. There is no happy ending for her and she’s come in terms with that. Even in the way she records the tapes. Jay Asher should be applauded for being able to capture such a beautifully devastating point of view that is Hannah.

I think the reason this book stuck out so far for me was because of the way it was told. It wasn’t about a girl who wanted to suicide and was trying to keep it together. It was about a girl who just couldn’t keep it together and had to kill herself. But also about how it wasn’t just her actions that led her to the point where there was no other option.

    But this book doesn’t necessarily spotlight the stages in which Hannah decides she needs to end her life. It shows how each individual person (out of 13) had a part in her decision. How even the most insignificant of things could push her to the edge. How one little action could kill a spirit. And then, it was about how each person had to know the role they played in Hannah Baker’s death.

    “And the snowball keeps a-rollin’” It started with one person who made a mistake. Word got out. Next thing you know, someone else pulls something. And the snowball effect continues, which was another main idea in this book. A very important main idea, might I add.

    If you haven’t ever dealt with suicide, you may not feel the full impact that I did. I felt the wind knocked out of me when reading certain parts and it made me sick. Not because the book was bad, but because I was reliving memories of when I was bullied and near suicidal. It wasn’t easy for Hannah and it isn’t easy for anyone else. I can’t count on my fingers the amount of times I needed to a) cry, b) take a breather or c) just stop reading in fear that I would explode.
There was a lot of this from me while reading.
 I feel like writing more. Like trying to show everyone I talk to on the blog, twitter and everywhere else my story. I want to show my scars and this book helped me, personally more than ever. How many times did I nearly get a paranoia attack from someone who didn’t respond to me on twitter when I posted something about me wanting to cry?

    I connected with Hannah; Hannah gave me hope. She sucked up every single bad thought and recorded it all in a tape recording to haunt everyone who deserved it. If I could do that...

    The 13 reasons and 13 people were so creative and so believable. It isn’t about calling someone “ugly” or even tripping someone in the school hallway. An act that isn’t even completely meant to be malicious can be taken that way and it can. Ruin. Someone’s. Life. The reasons and people were also so diverse. Some people were cheerleaders, jocks; the usual. But there were also loners, the “nice girl” and even the prankster. It wasn’t about that group of popular people that made hell for the “loser”.

    I’ve always admired authors who can make their readers feel. It doesn’t matter if it’s laughing, crying or even anger. The purpose of a book, in my opinion, is so that readers can experience a world that isn’t their own. They can be picked out of their problems and live out as someone else. I haven’t “felt” about a book in so long and this one showed me what it’s like to actually cry again. Jay Asher is a phenomenal writer and I’m happy to have read this breathtaking novel.

It sort of saved my life. 


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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I love to hear from my readers, whether they agree or disagree with my opinion :) I do my best to get back to every commenter, though I am not always successful. Heh...Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! :D

~ Gabbi