Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Genre: YA contemporary fiction
Subject: teen suicide

My rating for Thirteen Reasons Why:

I wasn't necessarily planning on writing a review to this book because it's a bit older and I wasn't expecting it to be a "WOW" book, but then two reasons presented themselves to me:

  1. It was a freaking good book and deserves a review.
  2. By finishing this book, it marked my 200th book I've rated on Goodreads and since that's a pretty big milestone, I thought, this is a sign. I must do something in honor of this awesomeness.
So here I am with a review for Thirteen Reasons Why!

I've known of this book for a while and I knew it was about a girl who leaves cassette tapes for someone(s), telling them the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. I've heard that it was good and it's been on my will-read-at-some-point list since it first came out. 

And now that I'm finished with it, finished it in less than a day after ignoring it for five years, I'm telling you it is a read I will not forget. Ever.

Thirteen Reasons Why was a hard-hitting read and it's message was always very clear: Everything you do has an outcome. 

I've always been a strong believer of this. Always have been and always will, especially after this book. I know that the smallest of actions can be that one thing that gives someone hope while they are having a crappy day, can be that one final thing to send someone over the edge. That's how it was in this book. The simplest, thoughtless, and not entirely harmful actions of one person built upon another's and then another's and the end result was more than what each of those contributors ever intended.

I'd like to think I treat people with decency and respect. I've never been a fan of gossip and tisk my friends or classmates when I hear them talking about others negatively. But I can't say I'm perfect or that I have never said something hurtful to another classmate, to another human being. Or even just something not positive. Something that wasn't negative nor positive and the thought of that one action of mine, being the trigger to send someone over the edge, to make them break down in tears, to play horribly in their game, to say something to someone that they would otherwise regret...that's what I've been left thinking about.

Thirteen Reasons Why put a lot of things in perspective for me. It made me think twice about the things I've done and said, how I've treated people, and how I will treat others.

This book's last impression on me was this: If I always strive to keep nice things coming out of my mouth, or good deeds and actions coming from my body, then maybe that small and simple positive thing I did, is that one thing that gives someone their last thought of hope. Or a smile. Or just make them think: everything is going to be okay.


I rated this a 3/5 star because it's not the sort of read I typically enjoy reading (who wants to read about suicide?) but it was well-written, especially for a first book, and I thought the message was amazing. You should read this book because no matter how much I talk about its impact on me and no matter how much you say "Yeah, I get it. I understand what you mean," the suicide in this story is more than just a fictional story. It's something that is very real and happens a lot these days and you won't really "get it" unless you read it for yourself.

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