Monday, April 2, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
By: Jay Asher
Reported by: Julianna Helms

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.

-Summary from Goodreads
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This book had me strangled like a mouse dangling by a thread. It was angry and frustrating and so real I did not even understand the actual authenticity of the novel until something similar happened to me, and I was shocked. Because at first I thought I just hated this book. At first I thought it was annoying and dramatic, but I think there are few ways I could've been more wrong.

Thirteen Reasons Why is dramatic, but not because Hannah is suffering. It is dramatic because her pains are exemplified and dissected: like a frog, an animal, just torn apart little bit by bit so we can analyze her every thought and choice. It's disturbing. Maybe that's why I was so estranged by it at first: it does not handle taboo subjects with delicateness and grace, like Forbidden, but instead is outright brutal and cutting. There are scenes where everything just floors you. Freezes you.

I think you should be a bit prepared before reading this book. I went into it blind and came out blinded. It's incredibly disconcerting because, in fact, the book is told in multiple POVs at the same time. The contrasting personalities of the two voices are so different that I felt almost an actual, physical jolt every time their dialogues changed. Clay is depressingly emotional and buried within himself; Hannah is recklessly mad and yet knows exactly what she's doing and talking about.

Really, this book was a bitter delicacy with a bitterer aftertaste. It reveals truths we are often too afraid to trample upon, and sometimes it will be hard to accept. But even with its flaws of grace and style, I was still very much attached to it, the way you might feel the need to protect a lost cat you've never seen. Thirteen Reasons Why is hard. It's not groundbreaking, and it's not tectonically-changing. Though honestly, its brutality is sometimes breathtaking and, ultimately, can be destructively revealing.
The Reviews News


  1. I've had this book on my shelf forever and this review makes me want to read it next. I'm interested in how brutally honest the novel is.

  2. I read it and I was also conflicted. I thought Hannah and Clay situation was a bit too much yet, so little, yanno? But, I get that Jay Asher was trying to get a message across to readers and non-readers alike. It the one thing that I actually kept with me after I read it. The smallest of things can lead to BIG consequences. That, my friend, applies to bullying and everything else in the world. :)


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