Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

Synopsis: Jay Asher’s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective dual narrative — alternating between the girl’s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening — this honest, poignant story reveals how other people’s actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual’s faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.

Review: This was a confronting sad story about a girl who committed suicide, but before she did recorded 13 cassettes and sent them to the 13 people who made her do it. It’s a true reflection of the saying that every action causes a reaction. What you do to others can affect them for life.

I was waiting for a huge climactic moment in her story, some huge incident to just summarise why Hannah did what she did. There really wasn’t that moment. Instead it seemed that 13 trivial, or perhaps small incidents snow balled for her and she took her own life.

Now its not for me to judge what does and doesn’t make someone feel that way about their life. Perhaps she previously lived a sheltered life and this affected her more than it would someone who lived a different life. So I read, and I tried to understand. I didn’t connect with the reasons WHY, but I tried to understand them from the perspective of a teenage girl and how it would have made her feel.

The switch between Clay (the male protagonist) and Hannah was successful and gave us two very different perspectives on the same story. Clay, who wonders why? Why didn’t you get help? Why did things happen that way? And Hannah who was very condemning in her story. It worked well!

I truly believe the themes of this story are important to teens today and this book should be read and taken in by teens… I would even go as far as to suggest things like this in the classroom. Lets start talking about these issues. Why aren’t we? Just like in this story when Hannah brings it up annonymously in her classroom, people start to squirm. It should be openly discussed.

Such a good book!

Rating: 4 out of 5

What do you think?

  • Lisa says:

    I think this was a great book. What to you may seem like only small things, to someone who is depressed for any reason it just takes a few little things sometimes to send them over the edge. But if you’ve never felt that way, then I can see it might seem like minor issues. As someone who teaches middle schoolers, I see these minor things happen and said and how the kids don’t realize how much little things can hurt. But I do like your review! Very honest, and as you say, it would be great to use in a classroom. It won our high school level state book award in Missouri last year, so I got to meet the author this past April at a library conference.

    • Melissa says:

      I guess so… see I think I see a lot of these things as trivial because I had a particularly bad home life and school life growing up, and although what I knew what was happening was bad, I kept telling myself that it would all be over in a matter of years and I could get out.

      Everyone handles things differently. What might have tipped someone over the edge is not a big deal to someone else.

      But I do understand what you’re saying, and I do agree that some people do handle these things in a way that can be dangerous. Definitely agreed.

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