Review Detail4.6 62
Genre: YA/ Suspense
Publication Date: 2007
My Rating: 5/5 stars
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.
It seems that each time I get my hands on a book by Jay Asher, I finish it in two days or less. I don’t know why, but I’ll take a guess and say that his books are raw and honest. He says thinks just as they are.
A month ago I read The Future of Us and really enjoyed the book, but it was Thirteen Reasons Why that stole my heart.
Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker. A teenage girl who has committed suicide. But before that occurred, Hannah recorded a series of audio tapes in which she explained the thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. The main character, Clay, is one of the, but he doesn’t know what he did.
The book takes place over the course of one evening. Clay receives a box full of audio tapes and finds out that he has to listen to the tapes and pass them on to the next person, sort of like a chain letter, and if he doesn’t, another copy of the tapes will be released to the public, which would cause dangerous consequences for the involved. He listens to the tapes as he visits the places Hannah mentions in her tapes and discovers all the reasons why Hannah Baker decided to commit suicide.
As I read the book I felt sorry for Hannah, I related to the things she went through, and even cried a good deal of tears when the book reached its ending. And I because I felt like over the 288 pages of the book I had gotten to know Hannah a lot and had considered myself close to her. I listened to her woes and understood all of them. When the idea of suicide began to pop into her head, I wanted to stop her. To tell her not to go through it. To save her and convince her there was a lot to live for. I cried because I felt empty. I truly felt the lost of Hannah Baker. The author did so well portraying Hannah’s depression. It all felt so genuine. And the “snow ball” effect worked really well.
One of the major themes of this book was bullying. Hannah was bullied in many ways. Rumors were spread about her, people called her names, and they made her feel so lonely, so alone. They all gave her reasons to end it all. To give up. Even when some of the characters thought they were doing no wrong, they somehow contributed to Hannah’s reasons. It really goes to show that we don’t know how much impact our actions have on a person.
I loved every single scene of the book, but there were two that I like a bit better than others. Firstly, there’s the scene where we discover who the last person who caused Hannah’s dead is: her counselor. Hannah has given up in life, and this scene is pretty much her last cry for help. But the counselor didn’t realize then what Hanna was about to do. My other favorite part was the end. Clay had seen this girl, Sky, having a lot of the same symptoms Hannah had had (changing appearance), and at the end of the book he went to talk to her. We don’t really know what happens after this, but I like to think that Clay stopped this girl from committing a huge mistake. Perhaps the same mistake Hannah Baker had made.
I have never felt so connected to a character before. I have never related so well. It’s a weird feeling, really, relating and feeling for a fictional character, and yet it’s also somehow liberating. Even though Hannah might not be real there are teens who feel the same way she did. Helpless, lonely, lost. The cause of those feelings might be many, bullying, a dysfunctional family, or a hurtful rumor. Things that a lot of teens these days go through.
And there was a quote that touched me very much. A quote that made me break down. The quote is located on page 280. It is told in Hannah’s perspective and goes like this: “A lot of you cared, just not enough. And that…that is what I needed to find out.” This quote is heartbreaking and it is easily the best quote of the book.
This book came in 2007 and it surprises me that I haven’t picked it up until now. I have heard of it before, of course, and I was even aware that Selena Gomez is going to play Hannah Baker in the movie adaptation for it, but I haven’t had enough interest to pick it up. Thirteen Reasons Why really shows that we need to be careful what we say or do. You never know if you’re affecting someone or not. You need to open your eyes and help that friend who so desperately needs to be aided. This book is eye-opening, it has had such an effect on me, and I would recommend it to everyone! Gah, what was wrong with me? I want to keep gushing and gushing about this book, but that would be very annoying for everyone, I’m sure. So I’ll leave you saying that Jay Asher has become one of my favorite authors.