Thirteen Reasons WhyAuthor: Jay Asher
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published: July 2009 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several 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.This is a desperate, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful novel.
Compelling, gut-wrenching and heartbreakingly real. This is the kind of book I won’t get tired of reading again and again.
I absolutely loved Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s honest, beautiful, sad and hopeful all at the same time. It gave a different kind of light to the issue of teenage suicide. Most of the time, we never truly know the story behind each suicide because the only one who can tell is gone. But with this book, we catch a glimpse of some of the reasons that push an individual to kill themselves. Hannah Baker is dead but that doesn’t mean she can’t tell her story.
I loved that this story is unique. The use of audiotapes, the dual perspective, the characters themselves. The dual perspective is actually a brilliant way of giving voice to the characters and to the story. We get to hear both Hannah’s story and Clay’s reactions and thoughts. I also liked that Hannah admits that she’s no saint. She’s not this self-righteous person who puts the blame on other people. She owned her decision and her actions. Clay provides the other point of view. He liked Hannah but he did not agree with everything that she said on the tapes. It was just sad that Clay wasn’t enough to help Hannah. I actually felt regret and sadness for the things that ‘could have been’ between the two of them.
Jay Asher has a way with words. They may seem simple, but the real meaning sneaks on you and triggers emotions. The message that it’s trying to convey should be read by a lot of people. That we should be careful and responsible of our words and actions. That we don’t know how they affect the people around us. That we cannot control how what we say and what we do impact the lives of others.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a wonderfully written book. A must-read.
“…when you hold people up for ridicule, you have to take responsibility when other people act on it.”
“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”
“Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true – that aren’t really how we feel – but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.”
“If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”
“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.”