Book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Date Published: October 8th, 2007
Date Started: January 25th, 2015
Date Finished: January 27th, 2015
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.
I’ve been dying for a book to just suck me in, and I decided to jump from book to book until I found one that just utterly captivated me. This turned out to be the one. When I first started it, I read nearly 75 pages in one sitting. It was one of those times where you’re just so engrossed in a book that you don’t realize that you’ve read nearly a quarter of the book and its way past your bed time. I was looking for this experience, and I’m so happy that I finally got it.
So what had me so sucked in? Thirteen Reasons is a story where a teenage boy named Clay receives a package one day. Inside, he discovers 7 tapes from a girl named Hanna Baker. Hannah Baker committed suicide. In these tapes, Hannah tells her story, all the the little things that led to her suicide.
See, the thing about suicide, its a tricky thing. Theres so many aspects to it, and theres no one real cause for it. I’m sure all of us have at least dealt with suicide in some form or another. And yet, we don’t know the real cause. For Hannah Baker, there were so many small reasons but many big ones as well. Theres this term she uses, the snow ball effect that I think best explains it best. Its all the small things that add up. Others may be able to just brush them off, but that one small action may be the most important of them all.
I was hooked because I wanted to know what happened. How could things get any worse? Was there something different that could have happened? Theres this point in the book where Clay talks about seeing signs, like when Hannah changed her appearance towards the end. But the thing is, there were so many signs in the beginning as well. Like the fact that Hannah seemed so isolated throughout her high school experience.
What I thought was really interesting about this book was the fact that it also dealt with the other side of suicide. The consequences. The people that Hannah addresses in her tapes are now left with this side of Hannah that they didn’t see before she died. Clay had guilt while he was listening to the tapes. Was there something he could have done? When someone dies, you go through every little thing in your head. Was there one moment that could have changed everything? Should you have done things differently? This book also deals with things like reputations. How damaging they can be because of one mistake or because someone decides to create a lie and things just get out of hand after that.
I really liked this book up right until the end. Clay comes across this girl named Skye and thinks he sees the same signs as Hannah. I didn’t really like this part because it came off as Clay felt like he needed to save someone just because Hannah died. Like it was his duty or something. He was acting out of remorse. He might just save Skye, if thats her situation at all.
I know that there are a lot of reviews out there saying Hannah’s reasons weren’t good enough to do what she did. But sometimes even the smallest reason is enough. I think the thing about Hannah is she felt like it was going to get worse and she just didn’t want to deal with that anymore. Like I said earlier, we can’t really know what goes through a persons mind when they contemplate suicide. Their reasons are their own.
This book is emotional, its raw, its heartbreaking. This book isn’t happy, and you know right off the bat that the ending isn’t happy. If you want a book to suck you right in and rip your heart out, I recommend this.