Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher

4 out of 5 hearts

This goodness was published back in 2007 and it wasn't until earlier this year that I heard about.  I started reading it and wow.  I finished it in a total of 2.5 days.

Hannah killed herself.  She returns to avenge her own death.  She returns to haunt those who made her life impossible and she will leave her mark in the world, slaying the souls of the guilty.  Hannah planned her suicide to the last detail and created a set of tapes that have 13 recorded messages, one for each person she blames for her suicide - the thirteen reasons why.  The tapes are rotated among the "guilty" in the order of the recordings.  All have to listen to them and each has to pass them on to the next person.  And if one person refuses to send them to the next, another unknown person has a copy of all the tapes and is ready to publicly releasing the recordings, which have these persons' deepest darkest secrets within, including statements of some crimes.

Clay Jensen is the next to receive the anonymous package.  He gets home from school one day and the package is waiting for him at the door.  It has no return address.  He opens it up to find 7 tapes with a number in blue paint on each side - a total of thirteen numbers on seven tapes.  He starts to listen to the first one and it's her, it's Hannah, before she killed herself.  She is revealing the truth about her death and the thirteen reasons.  But Clay was in love with Hannah and he never did anything to hurt her.  He was guilty only of cowardice, of never having the courage of talking to her or asking her out.  Why is he on the tapes?  Why does he have to go through the agony of listening to them? Why does he continue to listen to them all?  He has only one reason why.

This book was completely, unexpectedly amazing.  I really enjoyed Asher's writing style.  Although the entire story is told from Clay's perspective the tape recordings are written as if you were listening to them.  Asher even includes the play, pause, and stop symbols along the story line.  It wasn't like Clay was recounting what he heard or reading Hannah recording them; it was easy to imagine yourself hearing them after pressing play.

Immediately you are aware that Clay didn't do anything to harm Hannah and are able to conclude that they liked each other but never had the chance to start a relationship.  It is obvious that Hannah included him in the tapes to tell him she liked him, too.   Although, the things you learn about to other people mentioned in the tapes makes up for this (which also made this book so good), I was left with the question:  Why bother telling this story from Clay's POV?  I think that telling it from the POV of one of the other people, especially from the one adult mentioned, the ending would've had a bigger impact.  It was great that it affected Clay in that way, but it would've had a greater effect to see this change in one of the other guilty persons.  Had this been the case, this would definitely be a 4.5 or 5.

If you haven't read it yet, get to it!

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.” - Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 18th 2007 by Razorbill
ISBN 1595141715 (ISBN13: 9781595141712)
Edition language:  English

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