The Best Moments In Reading Are When You Come Across Something- A Thought, A Feeling, A Way At Looking At Things- Which You Had Thought Special And Particular To You. And Now, Here It Is, Set Down By Someone Else, A Person You Have Never Met, Someone Who Is Even Long Dead. And It Is As If A Hand Has Come Out, And Taken Yours.

Alan Bennett

The History Boys

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

13 Reasons Why

Title: 13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: October 18, 2007
Genre: YA/Fiction
Length: 324 pages
Source: Borrowed from friend

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorder by Hannah Baker- his classmate and first love- who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. 

All through the night, Clay keeps listening- and what he discovers changes his life… Forever.

After returning home from school one day Clay Jensen (main character), finds a small package with no return address, with his name on it. After opening it, Clay realizes it’s a series of 7 tapes pre-recorder by his classmate (and first love) Hannah Baker who had committed suicide earlier. Each tape contains two reasons why she killed herself (except the last one which only has one reason, altogether making them 13) and revolves around one person who stands behind the reason or caused the reason for her suicide. Clay is shocked to realize that the tapes were only sent to those that are one of the reasons, and the only way to find out what it is, is to listen to Hannah’s story until it’s his turn… 

It is very, very hard to talk about suicide mainly with teens. This book not only manages to effectively mange to talk about it, explain how something as small as a mean comment can contribute to something a lot larger without us knowing it, it also manages to literally break the fourth wall of YA book storytelling with it’s witty dialogues and completely new way of narration: through a series of pre-recorded tapes. While the idea of this book is simple; it is very easy to get lost in it, mainly as it has so many characters to which the spotlight changes to every chapter. The main character Clay Jensen is very likable, and even though we don’t really know a lot about him apart from what happens to him or what he thinks about the day he gets the tapes, it’s still easy to see ourselves in him. This book also was one thing, and then suddenly it was another. Some parts were very suspenseful and exciting, yet I felt disgusted by the things that happened to her. Sometimes I agreed with some of the characters, and other times I absolutely hated everyone in the entire book. So… how did I feel about this book? It was twisty and thorny just like real life, managed to talk about suicide with teens, broke the 4th wall of narration, and managed to convey very strong feelings of both extremes into readers. I have not read a book like it for a long time, and even though it was very strong, I want to give it a bad number of stars due to the disgusting things the author made the characters do, and the vapid thoughts he made some of them think. However, I know it’s part of the book and helped create the plot and atmosphere, so I’m giving it 4 stars! I would definitely read it if I were you, but get to be angry, sad, and disgusted by this book.
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