Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

In Thirteen Reasons Why, we meet narrator Clay when he receives a package containing cassette tapes.  On the tapes is the voice of his crush, Hannah, who has recently killed herself.  She uses the tapes to single out those people in her life that led her closer and closer to finally committing suicide. 

I wasn't a fan of this book.  I think maybe it was the disconnect between the high school aged characters and my 23 year old self.  I didn't realize just how far away from high school I was, and so many of Hannah's and Clay's problems are things that I don't even think about anymore.  I have a feeling if I had read this in high school or middle school, it would be really hit a chord in my heart and stuck with me more.

Anyway....the format of the book was interesting.  It was basically Hannah's voice on the tapes, and then Clay's thoughts as he heard what she was saying.  I thought this made the writing kind of choppy.  I understand why it was done, because then we really get to know where Clay is coming from, but the format didn't do it for me.

Clay and Hannah also annoyed me.  Hannah, to me, didn't really seem like she had any reason to kill herself.  Of course, as I write this I'm also remembering how much more every little thing got to me when I was in middle school and high school, so maybe in her adolescent brain she felt the need to end her life.  I can't really pinpoint why I disliked Clay so much.  I just got kind of annoyed by his narrating.

While I wasn't a huge fan of the book, I did enjoy it enough to finish it.  I also understand why so many people love it.  It has the message that you never know what someone else is going through, so treat them how you would want to be treated. 

I definitely think if I had read this book as a teenager I would have loved it.  It's weird how now that I'm an "adult" (ha right, I feel weird calling myself that), I don't like books and movies that I may have loved when I was younger.  Different perspectives, I guess.

Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why?  What did you think of it?  Maybe I should have done this review as: "13 reasons why I didn't really like this book very much."  Next time I guess.

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Date of Publication: 2011
Number of Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal ebook


  1. I think the powerful thing about this book is no matter what we think about our words and actions, they can hurt other people. I also thought the way this book was written was interesting. I had never read something like this before with the tapes and all, so it draw me in more than it would have if it had been written in the traditional way.

  2. I listened to this book on audio. It was very powerful because it was if I was listening alongside of Clay. The thing is, it wasn't just one thing it was the culmination of it all that drove this poor young gal over the edge. You sort of hit the nail on the head when you said the things that happened to her really didn't warrant her taking her own life. Sadly, this is how it is with most teen suicides. Their problems seem more insurmountable than they really are. If they could just make it through to see things through more adult eyes like yourself, in retrospect he/she would realize it really wasn't worth ending a life over.

  3. Part of the impact of this story is the fact that their problems do seem so petty. As adults it seems like "so what?" but to teens these problems seem so huge. It's so sad, and I think this book gave me some perspective -- since I'm SOOO far from being that age (much farther than you...) Great thoughts.