I don't often write introductions to my reviews. In fact, the last time I can remember doing so was with the wonderful PUCKER by Melanie Gideon, which I read in 2006. However, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, the debut novel from author Jay Asher, is the type of book that begs an introduction. So if you'd like to skip down to the third paragraph for the "meat" of the story, I won't hold it against you -- but you'll be missing something important.
If you have the chance to only read one novel this year, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY should be that book. It's sad, amazing, heartbreaking, and hopeful, all at the same time. I dare you to read it and not become so immersed in the story that you lose track of time and your surroundings. You'll cry, several times, while reading this story. You'll have no choice but to think about your actions, and wonder what type of effect they have on other people. And, in the end, you might also find the need to say "thank you."
Now, on to the story...
When Clay Jensen finds a package on his front porch, he's excited. A package, for him? With no return address? What could it possibly be? What Clay finds is a shoebox full of cassette tapes, each marked as "Cassette 1: Side A," "Cassette 1: Side B," etc. Of course he rushes to the old radio/cassette player in his dad's garage to check out these mysterious tapes.
And soon wishes, wholeheartedly, that he'd never picked up that stupid package from his front porch.
What he hears when he inserts that first tape is the voice of Hannah Baker. Hannah, the girl he'd crushed on for longer than he could remember. The girl he went to school with. The girl he worked at the movie theater with. The girl who had changed, drastically, in the last several months. Hannah Baker, the girl who committed suicide.
Clay soon realizes that these tapes aren't just a suicide note, aren't, really, even a clear-cut rendition of why she did what she did. Instead, these are thirteen reasons -- thirteen people, to be exact -- who created a snowball-effect of events that led Hannah to believe that suicide was her only option. But why is Clay on that list? How could he possibly be one of the reasons that she killed herself?
As the day goes on, Clay becomes obsessed with listening to the tapes. And what he hears frightens him, disturbs him, and, in the end, leads him to realizations that he never would have expected. As Clay listens to the role that thirteen people, including himself, led in the ultimate death of Hannah Baker, his view of the world, and himself, changes drastically.
You will love this book, because you won't be able to help yourself. You will feel what Clay feels. You will, in a very strong way, experience the highs and lows of Hannah's life right along with her. And there is nothing, in my opinion, that could speak better for the authenticity of a book. Read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. And then, if you're like me, you'll read it again. And, hopefully, none of us will ever forget it.
You can read the book summary elsewhere. I enjoyed the set up of the chapters as places in the cassette tapes, with stop, play, pause, etc. as marking the spots. I enjoyed the concept of the book-instead of a suicide note-a suicide tape. Overall, I did enjoy this book. But, I got annoyed at the main character-Hannah. For a while it seems like she blames these 13 reasons (or people) for her choice to end her life. But then at the end she says she forgives them and realizes she is looking for an excuse to let go, but that she just wanted these people to know that if one thing had changed, she might not have killed herself. The blame issue bothers me, the waiting for help bothers me-but I understand and appreciate the fact that most teenagers would do the same thing. It is a very well written book, I couldn't stop reading it. But I got frustrated. Then again, maybe that frustration is what the author wanted, so people can realize little things can be huge in someone's life. THankfully Hannah never says it was anyone's fault but her own. Somehow that doesn't make the 13 people feel any better..
I really, really enjoyed this book. Every page was fascinating. It will really make you think how one, seemingly small, action can trigger a much larger chain of events and impact people in ways you never intended. This book should be required reading in high schools these days, then maybe kids will stop torturing each other so much.
This was a great book. It really intriguied me, I was completely sucked into the book I couldn't put it down. It was very well written. One of those books that will get you thinking. And throughout the book I found myself very sad, I felt like I had come to know this girl.
This was...is an amazing book. It's just so suspenseful and I couldn't put it down until I finished. It got the best of me and I even tried to come up with my own thirteen reasons, and I don't know how to explain it, but it captured me for a few days after I finished it. I would (and I did) recommend it to all my friends. Very well written.
For Jay Asher's first book, he sure did a hell of a job. There is suspense throughout the whole book. You never know who's next and the reason as to why. Thirteen to be exact, with thirteen people. I couldn't put the book down and there were times where I could feel Clay's emotions; I would think I was next on the tape as well. Hannah's reasons for committing suicide are inexcusable though, and in reality, things like she described on the tapes happen all the time. It's life. Hannah just could not handle life and Jay Asher portrayed that to a capital T. I have the book posted up for order, by the way.
Even though I completely disagree w/ the main character's way out of her problems, this book's message really packs a punch. The everyday little things we do that we don't think twice about can really hurt someone on a deep level...a level that takes them to this dark point. It makes you think hard about how your actions effect others and makes you think again after reading this book.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a fantastic read. It had me crying in parts, and then I'd be laughing a second later. It's written beautifully and although I didn't want it to end, it needed to because my heart couldn't take anymore. The book may be confusing at first because the text changes for the two points of view going on: Clay Jensen who is the receiver of cassette tapes and Hannah Baker who put the tapes together. The font changes to italics to indicate that Hannah is talking.
This book was surprisingly compelling and very well written. Considering the subject matter, I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. The dual first person view points added an extra emotional level to the story causing me to be immediately vested in the outcome, but even more, wanting to know Clay's part in Hannah's decision.
I expected this book to be sad, which it was at times, and I expected it to be hard to read or finish, which it was not. The author tackled the subject of suicide not with over-dramatization, but with a simple matter of factness which mirrored how Hannah saw it, herself. This book is not a preaching story regarding suicide. It is a very intimate view of one character's experience, which makes the reading of her experience powerful. How signs can be missed, even by the person considering such an action. How that action seems, even to her, unspeakable, but she will do it anyway. How, once decided, she seems to look for reasons to continue with her plan, even when asking those around her for "help". It makes you stop and think about the stereotypes and stigma, yes, but also the individual people who make that horribly sad decision...and what role you may have played.
I am firmly of the opinion that, despite all the numerous books in print, there are only a tiny fraction that can truly speak to you and influence you on a level that makes you come away from reading them "wiser" or in any way truly "better" from the experience alone. For me, this was one of the few, and I consider myself lucky to have discovered it. I truly can't sing this book's praises enough. I was captivated by it from beginning to end, and was engrossed in the tale that was unfolding. The idea, as far as I know, is rather original, and is done with such honesty that it pulls you in and makes you think.
Basically, after a fellow classmate commits suicide, the boy who had a crush on her receives a package of cassette tapes in the mail. The tapes tell the story of why she did what she did, as well as who influenced that decision and how. I don't want to give anything away, but the story truly does make one consider how the smallest action or decision we make can have a large affect on someone else, particularly when those actions or decisions are added to the actions and decisions of others around us as well. Definitely not a bad thing to keep in mind.
Probably one of the most clever aspects of the book wasn't the idea though, but rather the execution of the idea. Cassette tapes. As the author discusses in the interview at the end of the book, who uses cassette tapes anymore? This makes me agree with him. By using "outdated" means within the book, he has managed to make sure the book stays current. After all, whether one reads it today or ten years from now, they will (as the characters in the book do) recognize that cassette tapes are a bit behind the times. So, the book shouldn't be "dated" for quite a while to come.
I am hopeful that this book will continue to reach people in the way it has reportedly been doing so far, and encourage all readers to think carefully about how they treat others. If we're lucky, it may even help some see when they're thinking the wrong way or going down a dark path, or help those around them recognize that they're doing so. We can only hope. Even if it only helps ever so slightly, it would already be well worth reading and making sure those in your family (especially teens) read it as well.
Interesting book from the view of Hannah- what struck me was how profound our daily lives may effect those around us without us being aware- a smile, a word or silence, a touch... I felt this book inspired me to be more in touch with the people I meet every day, whether in my family or in the world. We never know what burdens or troubles others have, but I know we are all broken and need to treat others as such. Thank you Jay Asher-
A must read-
I literally just finished reading this book and returning it to the library. It was a fast read. It took me one night. The book flowed nicely. I liked this for a one time read but I wouldn't read it again. If it was made into a movie I would go see it.
I felt the book didn't live up to the high praises I heard about it. I was expecting a life changing read but in the end I read a book about one miss understood girl, who in my opinion selfishly blames everyone but herself for her death.
Over all good read. Just a let down for my expectations. But I probably shouldn't go into a book with expectations.
Not just for young adults (but every teen and their parent should read)!!! I could not put this book down until I read the entire book. This book deals with a lot of the issues that face our teenagers (sex, drinking, dating, etc). Hannah committed suicide and left 13 tapes of why she ended her life. Individually, the reasons may seem small but to Hannah, it was too much to bear. This book should start some serious conversations and maybe even save a life.
I read this book in less than 24 hours, I absolutely could not put it down. The subject matter is heartbreaking and packs a huge punch. This should be required reading for everyone, and I mean everyone. Our actions affect others.
This is a touching and emotional book written in an unusual format. The story is told in two points of view simultaneously; Clay's thoughts and actions are interspersed with Hannah's stories. Clay is a teenager who receives a box full of audiotapes from a local girl who has just committed suicide. As he is drawn into listening to her stories, he finds his feelings for her and several other people are forever altered. The reader is really attracted to the female narrator, Hannah. Though the ending is predictable, you find yourself hoping that the circumstances will change somehow.
This book can be very depressing because it talks about events in a teenager's life that really hit home for me, but in the end it is sweetly uplifting.
My Thoughts: Wow. We meet Clay who arrives home one day to find a box full of cassette tapes from a girl named Hannah who committed suicide. I can't even begin to tell you how I felt about this story. From the first page on, I was hooked. I wanted to know what happen and I wanted to know more about Hannah. We discover throughout each tape how the people on the tapes had an influence on her life. This book really hit home with me, when I was a senior in high school, I had a friend who took her own life. Each page I felt more in tune with Clay and I wanted to hug him and make him feel better. I wanted to hug Hannah and tell her she was going to be ok and not hurt herself. We go through the tapes with Hannah and she explains everything. I can't really stress how emotional this book is. Theres just not many words that haven't already been said about it. Its beautiful and its real. Most people don't think about what their words mean to someone, or how their actions influence someone. Everyone needs to read this book at least once. Truly an emotional story. It had me in tears a few times because I could understand Clay's pain on losing Hannah.
Overall: Emotional. I really enjoyed reading this book because I haven't read much lately that makes you sit down and think about the book for days afterword.
Cover: It fits. Its a little depressing, but in a beautiful way.
A gripping story, leading you down the twisted path of what really caused a classmate to commit suicide. The book causes you to feel as if you are the one listening to the tapes the dead girl left behind. I was captivated to the end, unable to put the book down until I finished all thirteen tapes. Each reason built upon the next until you wish you could have done something.
I don't know, this book really left something to be desired for me. It was good for a quick read, but as far as deep and important content, it just seemed contrived. I felt that not only the main character, Hannah, but also the author were being emotionally manipulative when that really wasn't necessary to tell the story. I feel like I can understand Hannah's motivation better than some, having been in a similar state of mind when I was that age. But the author was overly sympathetic with Hannah (and Clay) and did not give either of them a chance to become truly human. He should have left it up to the reader to decide whether or not Hannah was "justified" in doing what she did. I also found the writing style was often somewhat amateurish, even for YAF, and implausible that a depressed teenager could have such stunningly clear and accurate insight into herself and her peers. I did like the book, but I finished it feeling a little disappointed.
As a teenager, this book would have been very eye-opening regarding the far-reaching effects of our words and actions. As a married mother of two who works full time and graduated from high school 16 years ago, I could appreciate the message of the book but found the story itself shallow. The "issues" that the narrator described were nothing like I was expecting. In fact, everything that she listed was surprisingly bland. It is probably more age-appropriate this way (why subject teens and tweens to horrible atrocities when they are exposed to so much already?) but in my opinion it ended up making the narrator look selfish and vindictive. I was left wondering who really caused the greatest cumulative harm: the 13 bullies, or the narrator herself.
For what it is trying to do and for the audience that it targets, I think that this book serves its purpose. It could certainly fuel thoughtful discussion and bring to light the potentially devastating consequences of seemingly inconsequential events. And due to the relatively minor wrongs listed by the narrator, it would be a book appropriate for younger teens as well as older.
But my main complaint with the book is this: BY NO MEANS were any of the wrongs experienced by the narrator worthy of suicide. For kids who are truly struggling through horrible traumas, Hanna's suicide is insulting. By nature, High School is awkward, self-centered, petty, and horrible, but that does not mean it merits taking your own life, especially when you stubbornly refuse to ask for help and then posthumously blackmail your 13 bullies with threats of greater exposure for the supposed wrongs committed against you. I was also incredibly frustrated by the author's portrayal of the 13th "bully" and found that entire situation completely unfair and more than a little cruel.
I can appreciate the author's intent in writing this book and think that people can benefit from reading it. I just don't agree with his approach.
I just finished reading this book 10 minutes ago. I am still amazed, in shocks, and contemplation. This book is a must read by teenagers and parents alike. It has the "aha" effect for young readers, quite like the move Breakfast Club...but a little more intense of subject matter. It is important for everyone to know just how one little thing that we do can affect someone's life in so many ways.
It's stated right up front that one of the main teen characters has committed suicide. What follows is a night of explanation, via thirteen cassette tapes, for select classmates who had a hand (according to the female narrator/deceased girl, Hannah) in events leading to her death.
Personally, I didn't like this book. The double narrator system was a bit hard to follow at times. Both are written in first person: Hannah's voice on cassette tapes leading the listener, a boy named Clay, on a walk-through around town, illustrating her life, and Clay's real-time reactions, as well as memories. Once I found out the reason Hannah killed herself, I wished she were alive so I could shake her by the shoulders.
I remember high school. It was ridiculous. The social ineptitude while trying to date was ludicrous, as it is in this book and as it is in every high school across the landscape. Every character in this book is culpable of some really bad decisions. Is it a reason to kill yourself? NO. A THOUSAND TIMES, NO. Additionally, Hannah's threat to those addressed on the tapes regarding the chain-letter rules made me furious. FURIOUS.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a must read. Especially for teenagers. I agree with another reviewer, in wishing it would become required reading for high schools.
This book makes you step back and take a good look at the things you do in your life. The way you treat people, the things you say to people, do you stick up for someone if you see or hear someone else putting them down? Or do you just brush it off and move on? Do you believe all the rumors you hear? Do you continue to spread those rumors once you hear them? It examines all these little actions and how they all can come together to make someone's life a living hell. Overtime destroying that life.
It was a very poignant read. Heartbreakingly tragic and yet beautiful at the same time.
I enjoy reading when I can find the right book. I bore very easily! It is very thought provoking on so many levels! This book kept me on the edge of my seat which is very hard to do! I highly recommend this book! It is definitely a must read!
I thought this was a great book. With such a difficult subject matter, it was actually really easy to read. I like the fact that the book makes you think about how all of your actions can be affecting someone else and you may not even realize it. I recommend reading this book as long as you are not currently struggling with depression or suicide.
The back-and-forth style of the storytelling was a little annoying because it gave the story a choppy feeling. Once I got used to it, I didn't mind so much, but it never let me completely sink into the story.
That said, this is an excellent reminder about how intense adolescence can be and how much tunnel vision young people have. This is a book that should be widely read because it has the ability to open discussions that can only help kids get a better perspective on their lives.
This is such a haunting story of a young girls decision to commit suicide and her thirteen reasons why. It will make you think about all the benign things you do in a day and the effect they have on others. It will also make you think about the things you don't say or do because you can do it tomorrow. This book is a good illustration to the contrary. We never know if we will have the next day to do something important. I will strongly recommend this book to every teen and every parent of a teen that I know from now on. It gets a 5 out of 5
I give this book four stars, and if anyone knows how i rate, it takes a pretty damn good book for me to give it that many. Even though i am 26, I would reccomend this to anyone of any age, Boy, girl etc. I can see how this book might appeal to a male audience since the main character is a male.
The main story of Hannah and the 13 reasons why she 'killed' herself become clear and a puzzle starts to fit into place as Clay listens to the tapes...
He is shocked and very surprised by some of the things he hears, but some dont surprise him at all.
Jay Asher has done in his first novel, what many authors STILL can't do. You fall in love with the characters, he holds your interest and gives just enough mystery for you to keep turning those pages.
I also appreciate how the ending ended. Very direct, to the point etc. You would think 'a girl killing herself in a book, why the hell would i read that, i already know what happens to her.' But the whole point of the story and of stories you hear about this type of thing goes to show us all that we never REALLY do know the whole story, in this case YOU WILL.
I recommend not waiting for this one. Im sick of waiting for 100+ people to get their book first, i spend the little extra and just break down and buy it at B&N.
I really think you should. I am not disapointed at all about paying full price for this one.
I answer a state suicide hotline as part of my job duties, so this book was recommended to me because of the topic, and I'm so glad it was. I loved the premise of the story, and the way it was written with the dual narratives. It intrigued me from the first page and I didn't want to put it down until I was finished. This was a great way to open readers' eyes to the fact that every little action you take CAN have an effect, whether you realize it or not. It also gave insight into one of the many, many reasons why someone would consider suicide and how by perpetuating the stigma that so many people put on suicide and ignoring signs when you see them in someone, you could inadvertently be taking away any hope the person might have. Definitely recommended!
I loved this book. Although i dont think she was right in blaming ANYONE for what she did i loved this book. It has been a little over a year since i read it and let me tell you everytime i see it on my bookshelf i think about it. I've never read a book where i have cried and i cried for the most part of this book. This is a MUST READ for anyone and i would not hesitate to pick this gem up
This book is amazing. It takes teen suicide to another level. The understanding given to the effects of bullying while respecting the boundaries of mental illness make this book a must read for every teen, parent, teacher and mental health professional.
A museum audio guide provided the clever premise for Jay Asher's gripping but unrealistic debut novel about a teenage suicide "note." Nice guy Clay Jensen finds a mysterious package containing cassette tapes made by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush from afar, who sent them on chain-letter style to the 13 individuals she connects to her decision to die two weeks ago. There's a bit of blackmail--and literary suspense--involved, as one tries to find out why he made the list, lest a second set of tapes be publicly released if he does not pass them on. Clay dutifully listens and visits the places Hannah mentions as he listens to the entire set, all in one night, and is predictably devastated by Hannah's chronicle of the events that led up to her suicide. The exchange between Hannah's voice and Clay's response are touching. It provides a strong case for the case that suicide notes don't make the survivors feel better, and for us all to be kinder in how we treat others since there's no telling what may trigger someone to travel further down a dark road. However, Hannah is atypical of suicidal teenagers: many are too distraught in their own painful thoughts to plan this type of "revenge." Nonetheless, Thirteen Reasons Why provides a suspenseful story as backdrop for dialogue about an important young adult issue.
If you liked the book you might love it as an audio book! it is one of the best audio books I've ever heard. My daughter was riveted by it and when we came back from long car trip and had 1 CD to go she sat in the garage and listened to it! Very powerful...how painful little lies or cruelties can be to a teenager, and how no one little thing was enough to destroy this girl's life, but how added together, they became too much for her to bear.
I was drawn to this book from the moment I saw an advertisement for it, so I snatched it up the first time I saw it in a book store. The idea of exploring a teen suicide from a serious perspective was very appealing to me, because I think this is an important issue that affects us all, and should be addressed as such.
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I just could not put this book down. I would have read it in one sitting but the need to eat, rest, and other things made me oblige. I think this book was amazing, so beautiful! I can't post my copy, sorry!
This book takes you back to the anxieties of high school and trying to fit in, anywhere, during that rough period of life. Hannah is relatively new to the town, so probably more at risk for being singled out than her contemporaries. Incidents occur and rumours start flying, so she gains a reputation that is not deserving.
This book brought back all of those feelings of wanting so badly to fit in and be friends, with the dishonesty and backlash of teen angst. You will cry, you will laugh. Just hoping that teens don't read this and think that there is no way out of things. Those of us who have lived and survived the teen years would so want to talk to her and make her understand that life goes beyond that rough road.
"Thirteen Reasons Why" is one of those books that drew me in from the back cover. I really thought the premise was intriguing. It was a compelling but difficult read emotionally. I kept hoping that somehow things would change for Hannah, a girl who I could so easily relate to. I know many girls who have been in Hannah's shoes. I had been there. I think many teenagers can relate to the pain that Hannah went through. I also think that many have probably added a little salt into some wounds here and there. I see this as a story that gives the readers an opportunity to see how seemingly simple happenings can work together for good or not so good.
Seeing how each incident brought Hannah closer to the choice she made is something that I think can be a helpful read for a teen, but more so if shared with an adult who is willing to talk about the issues that come up. I think there are many points that should be discussed as well as alternatives to each reaction and to each action. Also it is important to note that anyone can take their life. No one is immune to stings and barbs.
I definitely got a lot out of this book and though long out of high school, am very glad I read it. This is a book that could really go a long way. I wildly recommend it!
This is a very intense book and one that almost everyone, if not everyone, should read at some point in their life. Preferably while still young. I don't know how many times I saw myself in this book and what I saw wasn't pretty. In my opinion, that right there is why most people that don't like the book don't like it. They can't handle it. Jay Asher did a fantastic job with something so difficult. I felt like this was non-fiction from about the fifth page on. It sucked me in until the very end- I think I put it down once, for a few minutes tops.
I wish I had this in high school. Maybe I wouldn't have been so unknowingly cruel to others.