Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

    

Rating

Cover Art: I very much like the black and white cover. Very fitting. The picture of a full person/face on a cover of a book, however, I still have issue with.

Review:

This book was a page-turner. While the dual narration can be difficult to read for some, I think it brought the story to a level that made it seem more real than not. This must be why I could hardly put the book down. It felt as though I was listening to the cassette tapes with Clay, listening to Hannah tell her story. I could only imagine what it must have felt like for Clay to listen to that. And the fact that I could imagine how the characters were feeling [well, mainly Clay and Hannah], made it a really good book for me.

I could not find flaw with the writing, the style of writing, or the pace the story went. I liked that it was fast paced and, more often than not, went straight to the point. I liked what we got to see of the characters. Both Clay and Hannah’s emotions were laid out on the page for all to see. Frustration, anger, and regret were all expressed differently from each character and Jay Asher wrote these scenes out very well. The pacing and suspense-filled moments, such as when Clay would come into the story or what happened at reason #13, were perfectly paired to make the book both readable and enjoyable.

That being said, I’m sure this novel will not be enjoyable for many readers. Jay Asher took a risk in writing this type of book, touching on very real topics that can arouse debates and discussions revolving around these sensitive issues. Suicide, I think, can be a very subjective matter. How each person views one experience can be vastly different from another’s point of view. Each person gains strength from different aspects of his/her life and if that reservoir of strength is compromised, every coping mechanism also differs from person to person. Everyone has some kind of breaking point. Everyone has reasons to why they break down crying or throw anger fits or lash out against those closest to them. Hannah gave thirteen reasons. And that was enough for her.

[Below is a video that contains parts of Hannah’s first recorded tape. Follow the youtube link for the channel for the rest of the videos: Hannahsfriend13]

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