Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Release Date – October 18, 2007 (released again in 2011)
Publisher – Razorbill (Penguin)
Publisher Social Media - Penguin (Razorbill)
Pages - 304
My Rating- 9.5/10
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.
I picked up this book not really sure what I was getting into. I am so glad I read it. I wish it would have been around when I was in high school.
The format of having Hannah’s tapes and Clay’s reactions together so that we are getting them right away really worked for me. I am not sure that having rotating chapters would have had the same outcome so I am glad that it was done this way.
I feel that this is more Clay’s story than anyone else in the novel. I felt for Clay throughout the whole book. Listening to these tapes and waiting to hear his name, almost waiting to be even more devastated than he already is. It would have put me on edge. We definitely get to see how this impacts Clay.
I admit I found Hannah to be a puzzle. She was sad, and I genuinely felt for her. Some of the things she went through are terrible. These tapes though, they almost seem like she just wanted payback. They didn’t really seem to be about closure and explaining things. I guess maybe she just wanted the people that hurt her to hurt as well. It was a lot of little things that seemed to build up for Hannah and not everyone would have reacted the same way to what happened to her, but they were her reasons. I will say that there is one event while it doesn’t directly happen to her would have devastated me as well. She sits through something and is unable to help and you can tell she feels awful about it. She feels just as responsible for what happened as the person who commits the act.
This book really makes you realize how the littlest thing can impact someone else. You don’t know what that person already has going on in their life, and your actions/comments/etc could really make the difference in someone’s life (or even not acting). It’s a great message that I think a lot of people should realize.
I ended up listening to some of the tapes (you can do that here)and it is even more heartbreaking to hear them.
This is the book that I think should be on a lot of high school reading lists, even read as a required book for English classes. It creates the opportunity to get conversation going, and hopefully helps people see that kindness, and basic decency to others isn’t a lot to ask for.