Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

13 Apr

Thirteen Reasons Why My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this is an amazing book. I’d been disappointed that I hadn’t come across anything this year that really wowed me.  That isn’t true any longer.

I found the framework of the book quite creative– a teenage boy listening to a series of audiotapes left by a female friend that committed suicide. She tells her story, and asks that the tapes be passed along to all those that played a role in what lead up to her decision.

Hannah’s story was sad, her reaction to it even more so. She describes a series of events. Each, taken on it’s own, was something she could deal with. Added together, she felt cut off from any hope or connection in her life.

Clay is a genuinely good guy. Not perfect, but overall, a good guy. As he listens, and puts together the pieces, he is horrified by the effects of seemingly small actions by his peers, as well as some truly horrible larger actions. He struggles with his roll, as he only wanted to get to know her, to possibly be more than friends.

I thought that the book showed the impact that even small actions can have. I really felt for both Hannah and Clay. Talking to others, I’ve heard split opinions– some found it as compelling as I did. Others did not. Beyond the obvious fact that not everyone perceives each book the same, I have two thoughts.

First, it’s quite true that not everyone would take the same path as Hannah, given these events. If you are a person that doesn’t have a tendency to depression, who would be able to pull yourself through these events (or believe you would), the story may not resonate.

Second, I really think the audio production added to my appreciation. There were separate narrators for Clay’s narration and Hannah’s tapes, and both were excellent. The audio production is incredible, and if you are considering listening to this book, I’d strongly recommend it.

I would suggest a private spot for reading it, particularly the second half. I rarely react outwardly to books, but I think I may have started some gossip about myself at my daughter’s school, because this book had me in tears.


Posted by on April 13, 2010 in books, reviews


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14 responses to “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  1. Audrey (brizmus)

    April 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Okay, it’s official, I MUST read this book!

  2. Marce

    April 14, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Great review. I am in the minority of not loving it and I still wouldn’t recommend to teenagers.

    It has a great message and the style etc was brilliant but I can’t see some teens not agreeing with Hannah and choosing suicide also. Scary thought.

  3. Meghan

    April 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I thought this book was fantastic and really made me consider serious issues. I am glad you agree!

  4. Debbie

    April 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Great review! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book as well.

  5. Care

    April 15, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I’ve had this on my tbr for so long. Good to know I should keep it there (and maybe move it up the list soon.)

  6. nanscorner

    April 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I loved this book! I’m so glad you liked it too.

  7. Kathleen Dassaro

    May 8, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I bet this was wonderful on audio. I read it last week and liked it so much that I finished it all in one day. I kept thinking that it would have made a great audio; I bet it hightened the emotions of Clay and Hannah. I agree with everything you wrote. It was a real eye opener.


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