How did I get it?:
I received it as a gift!
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.
Hmm, now this is certainly a book that I can see would totally polarise opinions. I thought Thirteen Reasons Why had an incredibly interesting premise and it’s certainly different to anything I’ve ever read, but I still found fault within the story, which I shall explain further later. What I did like about Thirteen Reasons Why is that it was blunt. It never really messed around with the setting. It told the story simply.
Thirteen Reasons Why immediately gripped me. I started it late at night and immediately regretted it, because I couldn’t devour it in one sitting. We find out right from the beginning that Hannah Baker has killed herself. Hannah lives on through cassette tapes which she has recorded giving answers to why she took her own life. Each tape discussed why a particular person added to Hannah wanting to take her own life. I couldn’t stop reading, I wanted to know how each person had somewhat contributed to her suicide. It made me think about how little things we do can have a massive impact on other individuals. It was incredibly intriguing to read. I liked reading Hannah’s story, but also reading from Clay’s perspective as he commented on the tapes.
Hannah Baker wasn’t immediately a likeable character, or one that I could empathise with. Some things that happened to her were terrible, but other things she mentioned just seemed to me like typical teenage drama that happens to every teenage girl and not necessarily a thing to want to kill yourself about, although, of course, we all handle drama in different ways. I think some of the things that happened to Hannah were avoidable. That’s where I begun to take issue. I felt like Hannah blamed her suicide on everyone but herself. She could’ve changed the situations she was in, but never did. There is situation involving rape in the story and it really sat uncomfortably with me, I couldn’t believe Hannah didn’t do anything to help someone else as she was too busy thinking about herself. Hannah did come across as incredibly whiny and that’s why I can’t rate this book any higher than I have done.
It’s hard, because I can understand that a lot of the time other people’s actions can lead to another person’s suicide but for me, it felt like Hannah didn’t take enough responsibility for the things that happened to her and at least try to make her life better before she gave up. I feel like Hannah was just as malicious sending out thirteen tapes to those that affected her. Perhaps she had now affected the lives of those that had affected hers?
I still enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why and I do think it’s an incredibly powerful, engrossing read. It made me think which I really appreciate! I just don’t think it sends the best message or has the most likeable character.
Would I recommend it?:
Yes!- with some caution considering its subject matter.