Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
[October 18, 2007]

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.

I'm not sure I can give this a proper review, so I'm going to tell you what I know instead of my thoughts.
I know it was a quick read. I sat down to read a few chapters and ended up reading nearly 200 pages. So then I simply had to finish the last bit. It was less than a hundred pages, only another hour. My mindset was constantly "Well, who's next on the tape? What if this is Clay's tape? Who's next and what did they do? One more person won't kill me."

I know that I had a physical reaction to the book. I first finished it and I couldn't really think. I couldn't comprehend things the way I normally do. For a few moments, I even felt physically sick. When that passed, I tried working out and suddenly got inspired for a new story idea of my own. When I sat down and started writing it, I realized my arm was shaking. I went back to work out more and realized my whole body was shaking. I kind of felt like I was having an out of body experience.

I know I was totally absorbed in this book from beginning to end and after. When I wasn't reading, I thought about reading. When I was finished, it kept bouncing back, either the story directly or the story it inspired me to work on.

This is a book that haunts you. That gets under your skin. A book you have to think about. And then you have to think about yourself. 

It's not an easy read and it's not a happy read and there's no real happy ending. But it's an important read, I might even call it a necessary read.

I think I loved it, but I don't know. I definitely didn't hate it. I can't even try to tell you exactly how I felt about it. All I can do is tell you that what I've written is what I know and you'll have to make your own conclusions from that.



  1. This one snuck up on me, too. I didn't expect to like it -- they're going to make a movie out of it and I at first thought, "Why?! That's soo depressing!" But then for some unknown reason I picked up the CD and once I started I was hooked. It is very powerful, very connected. Great review!

  2. I know how you feel, because the book has haunted me for many years. It still affects me, and niggles at me. Largely because there is so much I wanted to know. I still try to understand her at times, I don't think I ever will. I got her to a extent then the rest of her kind of just slipped away.

    I was such an emotional mess after this book. So hurt and angry, at those that hurt her, at bullies overall. I felt bitter for a little while which wasn't too healthy. So, I decided it was better to try and understand then to hate.

    I interviewed him on the blog, and it put a lot at ease. I asked the author questions which I felt needed to be answered for the sake of many of us who were still hurting from reading her story. Have a look around and you'll find it. It might help you a bit too :)

  3. This is an absolutely fantastic relaying of knowledge (since we're not calling this a review). If I hadn't already read Thirteen Reasons Why then I would certainly want to now.


  4. I'm so glad you read it! :) I think it seems to haunt everyone that reads it.

  5. I feel more ready to read this book now that you've warned me how strongly it affected to you. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I felt the SAME way about this book. It was just haunting...even now when I think about it a lot of emotions get brought up.

  7. Like you I don't know if I loved this book or not. But I know one thing, I'm going to remember this book forever. I don't think you can really truly relate to her unless you have considered suicide before (which I haven't) but I at least, felt really angry at all the people on the tape (minus Clay). For me the writing was so strong that it felt like the people on the tape were real people and boy, I hated them. It took me a while to convince my mind that, while this does happen in life, this was only a story. I'm still a little shaken up by it....



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