BOOK REVIEW: Thirteen Reasons Why – by Jay Asher

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Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: October 18th 2007
Finished reading: August 5th 2015
Pages: 288
Rating 4

“Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true—that aren’t really how we feel—but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.”

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I have been wanting to read Thirteen Reasons Why for a while now, mostly because a lot of people have been recommending it to me over the years. This novel by Jay Asher is definitely not an easy read, but very interesting. Lately I’ve seen a lot of YA contemporary novels dealing with suicide, but Thirteen Reasons Why without doubt stands out from the rest. The prose is very original: the main character Clay ‘interacts’ with the voice of the deceased girl on the tapes. The plot is intriguing and with Clay coming over as a good kid it really makes you wonder why he is on the tapes… Because supposedly the thirteen people mentioned on the tapes are the reasons why Hannah decided to end her life. This novel is definitely not for everyone, but if you don’t mind a ‘heavy’ read, Thirteen Reasons Why is highly recommended. It will make you think on how something small can have a huge impact on someone’s life!

shortsummary1review

Hannah Baker decided to end her life two weeks ago, but not before sending a bunch of casette tapes to the first out of thirteen people she wants to send a message to. Thirteen people and thirteen reasons Hannah couldn’t live with herself anymore and committed suicide… When Clay Jensen returns home after school one day, he finds out he is one of them. He doesn’t understand why he would be on the list, because he feels that he has always been a supportive friend. But Hannah tells everyone that if they don’t listen to the tapes, an extra copy will be made public and everyone will know their secrets… So Clay and the other twelve have no other choice than listen to them. And soon he will find out why he and the others made the list.

finalthoughtsreview

Thirteen Reasons Why is what you call a ‘heavy’ read. Suicide is never and easy topic to write about, but I think Jay Asher did an excellent job with this novel. The dialogue between Clay and Hannah’s voice on the tape is what makes this novel original. Some of the things people did to make it to the tape seem only minor events, but like Hannah says: the snowball effect makes small rumors turn into something big and destructive. A very interesting YA contemporary novel if you ask me!

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18 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Thirteen Reasons Why – by Jay Asher

    • I have read Looking For Alaska as well, and I definitely prefer Thirteen Reasons Why over that one. The prose is that much more interesting, even though Hannah wasn’t exactly likeable as a character.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey Yvo~
    I find that I’m in the minority when it comes to this novel. Although I think that Asher did do a good job with portraying the “snowball effect” like you said, I also didn’t like Hannah’s character. Even if she committed suicide I thought it was awfully terrible of her to explicitly pick out and humiliate each person on the tape (with the exception of Clay). She practically fucked them over when it came to their mental stability. The funny thing is that although she said that she could send the tapes to the police, I do not believe that her recorded opinion would have been enough to actually put anybody in jail. It would need more solid evidence than just a testimony.
    Nevertheless, I do think that the message that the book tries to tell is good! Unfortunately, I just didn’t connect with either of the characters enough to truly enjoy it. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand your feelings about Hannah, I wasn’t really convinced by her character either. While I understand why she thinks the things the twelve people mentioned on the tapes did made her decide to end her life, I don’t think what she did is the right way of dealing with it. Sure, some of them made her suffer, but she should have done something before it was too late… The tapes will effect the people on the tapes in a way that is essentially worse than what they did in the first place. I don’t say I agree with their actions, but Hannah is not innocent either.
      That said, I still enjoyed this read and especially the original dialogue between Clay and the tapes. This would have been great as an audiobook as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I don’t think this one is appropriate for middle school; it’s just too much of a heavy read with some adult themes I don’t think are suitable for that age. I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone below the age of 16…

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a very interesting read even though it’s quite a heavy topic. The tapes are a very original way of telling the story; I’m sure Thirteen Reasons Why would work perfectly as an audiobook!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not a big fan of audiobooks either mostly because I don’t like the voices of those who read the books. 😉 But I think that if this one has the right voices it might make a very good audiobook.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes!! Same here! A lot of the audiobooks I attempted to listen to had terrible voices reading the book, and I just can’t bring myself to continue listening. But I’m glad that this book might have a chance at being a good audiobook! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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