Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Genre: Young Adult
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 288
Book Source: own purchase for kindle

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Thirteen Reasons Why was a compelling read, haunting, suspenseful, and fast-paced. The concept is unique, brilliant really, the writing is superb and the narration is captivating. Like Clay listening to Hannah's tapes, I couldn't put this one aside, I was completely caught up in the telling, anxious to hear the whole story. Jay Asher captures Hannah's emotions with clarity and honesty and Clay's emotions as he listens to Hannah's tapes are absolutely gut-wrenching.

The story delves into the actions, some inconsequential, some thoughtless, and some cruel, that have a profound and compounding effect on an individual. Hannah stands for anyone depressed, anyone who has contemplated or attempted suicide regardless of the reason. When it comes to depression there may be no reason, or a reason known only to the person that has given up all hope. Thirteen Reasons Why is the quintessential reason for censoring ones behaviour, being aware of our treatment of others and of course the need to reach out to those who are vulnerable.

But beside all the positives there was still something about the story that left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. When Hannah gives up on life, a decision that comes out of utter hopelessness, it didn't sit well with me that she had the emotional strength to make a complex plan that at times felt vindictive, bordering on revengeful and record a set of tapes. My empathy for this broken girl took a nose-dive when she threatened to expose those involved if her instructions weren't followed.

That aside, this was a brilliant debut novel, certainly not a feel-good read but emotive and thought provoking. I'll definitely be reading more from Jay Asher.

Visit Jay Asher's blog or the Thirteen Reasons Why website to find out more about this talented author and his work.

This month on The Eclectic Reader you can win a copy of Matched by Allie Condie, or Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead or The Leopard Unleashed by Elizabeth Chadwick. Check this blog post for details. Open Internationally.


  1. Great review, Sheree. I've heard a lot about this book and even my daughter did too. She wanted to read it but she's in 6th grade, not even 12 yet and I still don't know if I should just let her read it. But it certainly sounds intriguing.

  2. I have had this for ages and look forward to reading it soon.

  3. Sounds good, but still, might make me sad :( I do want my happy books right now

  4. I read this two years ago and thought it was a compelling read as well.

  5. I have heard lots of good things about this book!

    thanks for the review.

  6. I've heard a lot about this book and I want to read it!!

  7. I really enjoyed this one too and have had some great conversations with teens about it!

  8. This is a beautiful review! Because of the manipulative nature of Hannah's actions, and because teen suicide is a sensitive subject for me, I don't think I'd enjoy this book.

  9. I thought this was a very creative book but I just didn't enjoy it and would never recommend to a teenager, many things didn't sit right to me and I can't imagine teenagers reading this and feeling like suicide is an option.

    Great review.

  10. Creative, Original, and Seductive...
    Hi, Sheree...this would be on my wishlist. Thanks for sharing. =)

    -CJ @ Coffee N Crackers
    Latest Review: HERE

  11. Thanks for the review! I've heard lot of good things about this one. It sounds good but sad.

  12. I should read this book because my 15 year old read...a year or so ago. Yet, I just cannot. I think what you said about her threats of exposure towards others is why I have not been able to make the final plunge into reading the book. Your review, however, has me rethinking, and maybe I will eventually find this book in my hands.

  13. A new book for me. Thanks for this review.

  14. Good point on this book. I didn't really like the main character.... but I did like the overall story.

  15. The last point really made me not like the main character, as I agree with you on that.

    But somehow I have wanted to read this one. Great review!

  16. I have this audio on my wish list.

  17. "My empathy for this broken girl took a nose-dive when she threatened to expose those involved if her instructions weren't followed."

    After listening to the clip of the first tape I can see what you mean. I'm going to have to read with an open mind! :) Absolutely brilliant review by the way!


Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box