Friday, November 20, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Published: October 2007 by Razorbill

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Gothic

Includes: Profanity, Suicide, Sexuality

First Lines: A shoebox-sized package is propped against the front door at an angle. Our front door has a tiny slot to shove mail through, but anything thicker than a bar of soap gets left outside.

One day, Clay Jensen finds a package on his doorstep addressed to him, but with no return address. Inside there are seven cassette tapes, with a number written in chronic order on each side. As Clay starts listening to the tapes, he realizes they were recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and secret crush, who committed suicide two weeks ago. Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself, and Clay is one of them. Clay spends the rest of the night listening to all thirteen stories, and visiting places on the map Hannah left him, telling Clay where to go. He must face the truths he's tried to ignore for so long.

This book was very compelling. It had a thick, interesting plot that right away caught my interest. A girl admitting all the reasons why she wants to end her life, and then passing on the tapes to each person the day before she goes through with it? So creative. Now, before you start thinking that she might sound "pitiful or whiny", let me explain.

Hannah Baker's character was so...real. By the end of the book, I completely understood her and felt for her. She went through things in life that not all teenagers experience. It was a mix of betrayal, losing friends, being used, rumors and gossip being spread about her, heartbreak, witnessing rape, and more. Even though throughout the entire novel, it was only her voice speaking through the tapes, I got to know her better than the main character, Clay.

From Page 29
Well, what did you want to hear? Because I've heard so many stories that I don't know which one is the most popular. But I do know which is the least popular. The truth. Now, the truth is the one you won't forget.

Since there were 7 tapes, with a story on each side, that meant that 13 new characters were introduced. In some way or another, most of them were connected somehow. At times it got confusing, and I'd have to skim over the previous chapters I already read, to re-read which story went with which character. Other times I just gave up trying to remember who each person was, but it didn't really affect the overall storyline.

This was a deeply powerful story, and I remember crying once or twice as I stayed up late at night reading, not able to put the book down. Even though the overall story is sad, dark, and depressing, I liked the satisfactory ending. It sounded....hopeful. I actually had to read the end of the last chapter two or three times before finally getting it in my head that the book was over. Because I didn't want it to be!

I really recommend this book to mature readers for both boys and girls. Hannah Baker's stories will hit your heart hard, and leave you breathless. This book highlights how important it is to think before you act. And some great morals and values, like the consequences of your bad actions, are put to the test. If Jay Asher has written any other books, I'm not hesitating to go check them out.

Book Supplied by: Won it in a blogger's contest! :)


  1. Excellent book, a really well developed and reflexive story... I really liked it, is really powerful like you say, and I found it shocking, one of the best book Ive read this summer.

    Nice review ;)

  2. I checked this out from the library a while ago, but didn't get a chance to read it before I returned it. I'll probably have to pick it up again, it sounds really good :)

  3. Sounds very good. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Great review- I REALLY want to read this(:

  5. This looks so much better than the Twilight nonsense! I'm going to give a copy to every young girl I know.

  6. Very, very good review!!! I'm not sure that I'd want to read this, (I'd probably find it too depressing), but still it sounds like an excellent book and a worthwhile read.

  7. Loved that book! It was so moving and touching.

  8. I have this book, but I've never gotten to it yet! Your review inspired me to pick it up! Thanks :)

  9. I've heard about this book and couldn't decide how I felt about it. I'm glad to hear you say that it's not "pitiful and whiny" cause that was kind of one of my concerns. It sounds really powerful and moving...but also really disturbing. I just don't know. I'll have to give it a little more thought, but I really appreciated your review!

  10. I recently read reviewed this book as well and I totally agree with everything you said about it. A compelling read that really makes me think a lot about everything. Asher is really a genius!

  11. I'm new to the book blogging scene and this was the first book that I reviewed for my blog. I agree with what you said about Hannah's character seeming so real. The more I read I felt like I was the one listening to the tapes. Like Hannah was someone that I had knew or attended school with.

  12. I loved this book. It was really powerful, and the idea/plot of a story like this is genius and really creative. I agree with everything you said in the review, it hit my heart hard and left me breathless! Awesome review:)

  13. I rated this book highly also and found the characters very real and the writing great, but I couldn't connect with Hannah as much as you did.

    Having had suicide touch my own life in a few different ways, it seemed like Hannah had a lot of options if she'd only wanted to take them. But I think that was probably part of the point of her story as well (that giving up is not the only option) and I did love the message about actions and consequences.

    Great review!

    ~Shalena @ Writer Quirk

  14. Great review! This book has been on my to be read pile for like...a year, so I need to make some time and actually read it. It seems like it's really moving.


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