Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Published by Razorbill on October 18th, 2007
Date Finished: August 28th, 2013
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Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen 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.I am so conflicted on how to convey my feelings in this review to readers. On one hand, I could say that I loved the book. It's idea is original, breathtaking and very realistic in the way it address a real hard subject for author's to right - suicide. However on the other hand, I could simply say that I really enjoyed it, but it's one of those one time read kind of books. You read it's word, understand it's message, and even learn something from it. But once you're done, you put it back on your shelf and pass over it each time you walk by.
Since I'm still undecided, I will talk about what I can convey clearly at this point in time - how I feel about the cover. I have no idea how this is relative to the book. I know that covers don't have to fit the book exactly, and in most cases the picture or people are just general and can relate to the book they're on and practically any other one. However, for such a striking book, I thought the cover would be amazing. Powerful. But to me, it falls flat.
There's a girl sitting on a swing. Is that Hannah Baker? I'm positive it is, because Clay is a boy and well, you see what I mean. But how is this relative? Hannah Baker never sat on a swing in the book - and if she did, pardon me for forgetting because what I do remember being important in the book was not a swing. It was a rocket that she would climb up.
Also, what are the words on? At first and second and even tenth glance, I assumed them to be boards. Again, no relevance to Thirteen Reasons Why. At closer look, I begin to wonder if they're actually tape. Is that to represent the tapes and labels on Hannah Baker's suicide tapes? Because to me, I think it's the farthest thing from it.
I apologize to those who like the cover. I believe I'm stalling because I still don't know what to say about this book. It crosses between amazing, fantastic, and wonderful to a good read, okay writing, nothing too special.
The idea - it's amazing. Suicide tapes sent to those who helped push Hannah Baker over the edge. I wish I thought of the plot myself. It's original, and so, so genius. However I feel as it could have been conveyed better. I found at times loosing track of who was talking, whether it Hannah or Clay, even though italics showed that it was Hannah.
BELOW ARE MINOR AND MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS
I don't feel like the reason Hannah committed suicide was legitimate and real. She wasn't necessarily bullied, but I feel like it borderlines that. Nothing super bad happened to her, her home life wasn't bad. In fact, her home life was hardly ever addressed. There are reasons I understand, like witnessing a rape and letting it happen because stopping it may or may not give her the same fate as the other girl. But those aside, the other main reason was the rumors. People thought she fooled around, that she was either a tease or a whore. She wasn't, they were false. In my opinion, we all deal with rumors at some point in our lives and you either address them or move on. The whole school wasn't looking at Hannah like she was a slut and blatantly asking her for some. She went on a date with a guy once who ended up calling her a tease because she didn't put out. That was it.
I feel like this book could have been more real if Hannah's reasons were deeper than that, like the reasons today's teenagers are unfortunately committing suicide for. Hannah claimed she did everything she could to survive but I truly do not feel like she did.
And the ending. I don't know how I feel about the ending. Clay takes a chance because that's what he never got to do with Hannah. But it's with someone only brought up once in the book, someone so minor, and it ends with him calling her name. In a way, I love it, but in another, I feel like the girl is so insignificant that it ruins the perfect scene.
So there it is, my review or maybe not so review. I apologize for it being scattered and unhelpful, but truthfully I turned the last page of this book and felt conflicted. I didn't get the I'm so sad it's over feeling or the I'm glad it's done kind of thought. It simply ended. And I wish I could say more, but there is nothing more to say. It's a good contemporary read, and a brilliant idea. Should you read it? You decide.