Genre: Young Adult
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.