Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
Publication Date: October 18th, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781595141880

Where to Buy:
Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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. -Goodreads
I picked up 13 Reasons Why from the library at the recommendation of a fellow blog friend. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from a book that deals with teen suicide. However, after reading so many great reviews, I decided to go ahead and give it a read. I’m glad I did.

The book has two main characters, Clay and Hannah. We follow Clay as he listens to Hannah’s suicide tapes. I really liked Clay and, bless his heart; he didn’t deserve to be on those tapes. He didn’t deserve to believe he had any part in her death. However, I couldn’t imagine reading this book through anyone other than Clay. He was such a great guy, and he did really care about Hannah.

Then there’s Hannah. I felt bad for her, and I can definitely sympathize, but I also found her to be frustrating. I feel that she didn’t try hard enough to get help. We only see her trying one time to talk to an adult, (or anyone for that matter), who was definitely not qualified to help her. I had an issue with this, because it always seems to be that way with the schools. They let bullying roll off their backs, and say that it’s a rite of passage. I also have to wonder, where were the parents? We don’t hear of them often, and if she knew that they loved her, why didn’t she go to them for help? Why didn’t they notice something was wrong? I also felt that she was being childish in her tapes. I can see making the tapes to get her story out, but in parts she was very annoying. It almost seemed that she was just making the tapes out of revenge. This could have definitely been the point, however.

Overall, this book was a very touching read that shows readers the consequences of bullying. I hope that when young adults read it, they will take into consideration how their actions could affect someone else’s life.


Have you read this book?? What did you think of it? I would really love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

15 comments:

  1. I read it and reviewed it (believe you even commented on it) and I totally agree - it seemed like Hannah made the tapes to get back at them. It wasn't about getting her story out, or whatever. I also agree that she could have tried harder, and should have.

    I do think the over theme that your actions can a huge impact on someone is a great one to have out there, especially in highschool. Great review (as always).

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  2. I haven't had a chance to read this one yet. I did get it at the library once and then never got to it. Maybe it's the subject matter that is sort of delaying it. I do really want to read it though. I am glad that it ended up being a good read for you!

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  3. I'm still reluctant to read this book. Maybe I'll get to it one day.

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  4. Have it but haven't read it yet. Hoping to put together a literature unit on bullying with 5 book choices, so need to get around to it. Thanks for the review.
    Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com

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  5. I need to finally read this book, I think im one of very few bloggers who have not read this book yet. So many books, so little time!! Thanks for your review

    Laura@thereadingnook

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  6. I read this one a while ago and really enjoyed it. But I know what you mean. Hannah's character fell flat for me. I was more interested in Clay, because his actions seemed more justified than hers. And I mean that as in, he seemed to care more than Hannah.

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  7. This is one of my top books for recommendation. Reading it made me evaluate my own life, not only from Clay's perspective but Hannah's too. How to I treat others/how do I react to the way others treat me? Great review!

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  8. I really cant wait to give this one a go! It sounds amazing and certainly very thought-provoking! Thank you for your review!

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  9. I haven't read this one. I think it is something I have to read when I'm in a more serious mood.

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  10. I recently bought it and haven't read it yet, but I'm very curious about the story. I'll post a review, too, when I get there. :)

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  11. This book is on our high school summer reading list and I always recommend it to my students -- they love it (and so did I).
    Great review!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

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  12. I absolutely love this book and your review is great. I just posted my review the other night, and I really hope that many more people pick it up.

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  13. I also heard great things about this book and lots of readers recommend this one. I'm not sure the book is for me, but it does sounds really good and I like that it kind of have a message in it. ;)

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  14. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had the same issues with Clay not deserving to be on the tapes, but overall loved it and hope that teens who read it start to understand the possible consequences of bullying and the snowballing effect it can have.

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  15. I've always thought that Hannah's decision to blame others for her decision to commit suicide was a manifestation of her depression. It's clear that Hannah's mental health wasn't (healthy, that is), and so while I didn't exactly forgive her for for the tapes, I could sort of understand it. Also, Hannah's selfishness is another symptom of her depression.
    I had the same questions about Hannah's parents. They're only really mentioned once, but how did they fail to notice that anything was wrong with Hannah? As for the other adults--I just don't know. I'm a teacher, and my parents are teachers. It is unfathomable to me that any teacher would do nothing after Hannah had confided in them.
    I found Hannah irritating at times because of her inability to take responsibility for her unhappiness. Then I remember that she literally can't. The tapes are her only way of having control...they are her way of forcing people to listen to her, which I think is what she wanted all along.

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