Review: "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher

thirteenAuthor: Jay Asher
Genre: Young Adult/Real Fiction
Publication: Razorbill
Release Date: October 18th 2007 (first edition)
Pages: 288 (paperback edition)
Spoilers: There will be some spoilers, because I know I can’t help myself but spill some. Tho I do think this book is interesting enough to read even after some spoilers 🙂 – I actually think I did a good job on not-spoiling.

I got Thirteen Reasons Why for my birthday 2 months ago. I chose it myself and really was drawn to the book because of the cover and the back flip. It just stayed with me for 2 whole months, and finally, five days ago, I started reading it. A friend of mine had read it a few weeks earlier, but I told her not to say anything. So the morning after the night I finished the book, I got up to her. We screamed, fangirled and almost cried (well, I did). Conclusion: amazing book.

Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of Clay, who finds a box with tapes on his porch one day. On the tapes is the story of Hannah Baker, whom recently committed suicide. He opens the box and puts the tape in a tape recorder. The moment he pressed play, he heard the voice of Hannah, explaining what the rules are and how he should just sit and listen. On the tapes are the thirteen reasons, or better to say ‘persons’, why she committed suicide. And since he received the tapes, he’s on the list too.

This story starts off with the prologue: the moment Clay is bringing the tapes to the post office to their next victim. As a reader, you have no idea what has happened or why he is bringing the tapes to the post office. He’s shaken up, that’s for sure. The first ‘real’ chapter of the book introduces Clay and the box with the tapes in it. He starts listening to the tapes in his garage and that’s the moment he can’t turn back anymore. Clay is sucked into the suicide story of Hannah, just as I – the reader – was. At first I expected the book to be really sad and depressing, but I actually found myself really enjoying the quirkiness of Hannah and the awkwardness of Clay. But I also felt really deeply for him; his story is very sad. And at the end, the further we get with the tapes and Clay understanding the whole situation, I started to feel depressed and on the edge of breaking down. Jay Asher did a wonderful job describing how Clay reacted to all what Hannah was saying and explaining. Also, he put down Hannah really realistic. Some people say it’s not realistic that she killed herself for the reasons Jas puts in the book. To me, Hannah is real. Everything she experiences can actually bring her to the point of wanting to end her life. And that’s not fair.

I’m really mad at half of the people that are on the tapes. But I also feel sorry for some of them. Hannah killed herself, but by making these tapes, she created more victims. And Clay is one of them. After reading this book, I realized how strong our actions influence the lives of other people. Hannah changed the lives of the people that are on the tape forever. Nobody’s is safe and there is no turning back. She did make her point of thinking before you speak and be honest. Hannah came across as a girl who got depressed gradually: it wasn’t something in particular that wanted to make her commit suicide. And that’s the snowball effect as she calls it. I know that effect is real. It’s not made up or pretend. And Jay Asher just knew how to define that in Thirteen Reasons Why.

I am so glad I read this book. It is interesting, fast paced and has a lot of emotions in it. The way Jay Asher lets both Hannah and Clay ‘speak’ is sometimes a bit confusing, but is also really adding something tot the story. I said it before: Hannah feels really real. But more importantly, I started to feel as if I’d know her and Clay my whole life. And in the end (spoiler alert) all I wanted to do was hug Clay, tell him it’s not his fault. I wanted to scream at the teacher who’s mentioned in one of the last chapters and also want to state that this book is just a really good example of how screwed up our world is. People kill themselves because they are not happy. Really? That’s not supposed to happen. Also one of the key points in this book.

I really really really want all teens in the world to read this book, because it contains a life lesson, but it also brings joy, pleasure, sadness and regret at the same time. Besides the fact that the story is great, Jay Asher knows how to write. I love the book but also felt broken after closing it. It really made me nervous… sounds weird right? But it did. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else until I had finished the book.

Please, whoever made it through the whole review or is accidentally reading this: READ THE BOOK!

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