Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Series Status: Standalone
# of pages: 288
My rating: 4/5 stars
(Found on Goodreads)
You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret. . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.
Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes– and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town. . .
. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.
This book… I don’t really know where to begin with it. I picked it up not knowing much except that Netflix was making a series with it and that it’s about a girl who commits suicide and leaves tapes for people at school to find. But it’s so much more than that. I was surprised by how drawn into this book I got because I know this is a controversial book but this book grabbed my attention and had me reading this in one short sitting.
Probably the best thing about this book was the writing style/narrative. Asher writes from a dual perspective story, sort of. Mostly it’s from Clay’s point of view while he listens to the tapes that Hannah left him (and others). The way he writes it though was incredible, instead of Hannah’s dialogue feeling flat or disjointed from the story it fits perfectly because Clay responds to Hannah as if they are having a conversation but they can’t hear each other. I feel like this writing story is what made this story what it is.
Speaking of Clay, he’s essentially the main character because it’s technically his perspective we are hearing from even if this is all about Hannah. This is where my favorite part of the story comes in. While you read and see everything from Clay’s perspective you are just as confused as him. As you continue further into the story and see how he reacts so emotionally to certain things that happen, you feel sympathetic towards; however, you also know that at some point his name is going to be on a tape. This is the main fuel for this book. We all know how it ends but what we don’t know is why and this made the book for me. Taking the ending and twisting it so that the suspense builds and continues to do so with the main character. It created such an emotional story.
Then there is possibly what may be my least favorite part of the book. Since the story follows Clay it follows his ideals and thoughts about Hannah. This is where my problem comes in. It’s not that I wanted an impartial view of Hannah or for Clay to have different feelings about her but this felt too similar to Paper Towns by John Green. My problem is that Clay created an image of Hannah instead her as a person. It was surrounded by the ideal of Hannah that Clay had known based on rumors and lies and thoughts that he had from his view. I don’t like when stories created idealized versions of a girl because the guy wouldn’t-or couldn’t– talk to the girl.
I want to talk about the basis of this story now and why or why not I think this is a good book because of it. This is obviously a heavy book because it deals with suicide and the topic of depression. I’m going to warn now there is a major trigger warning for these topics as this is the sole topic of this novel but I still was engaged and intrigued by the story. I cannot speak as to if this is a good representation of anything it talks about but I can say that it made me think for deeply about it and focus on how one treats and talks to others and I think that was the purpose of this. Asher did an amazing job, in my opinion, in accomplishing this. So even though it’s controversial I still think this is an important novel and one that many can find solace or a reason to seek help because of it.
Overall this book touched me and was so emotional and engaging that I didn’t want to put it down.