Author: Jay Asher
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Realistic Fiction
Release date: October 18th, 2007
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Rating: 5 of 5
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.
This book has managed to jump to the top of my favorites list (...you know, next to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, of course). Not only does it include the point of view of a boy who has lost someone special to him, it includes the girl's point of view as well. If an author is strong enough to write from various POVs, I have an instant respect for them. Jay Asher, here's to you.
After having read this book, it makes me realize how much we're capable of. By "we", I mean everyone. We may not necessarily see what we do or don't do that make a huge impact on the lives of others. That being said, we can easily become the Clay in this story. Some people don't necessarily think that their words or actions can harm others, but many people know- from experience- that they do. When I think about all the lives that have ended over something that everyone thought was minuscule, it breaks my heart. Just 4 years ago, I was heading down the same path as Hannah. Thankfully, I found the strength to carry on. Unfortunately, thousands of teenagers don't have the strength or they don't have someone to show them they care. High school is a really tough time. It was for me and I know it is for many others. After a while, it seemed that everything was getting worse. It took 6 deaths, a breakup, and the loss of many friends before it even began to get better. I promise, though, it does get better.
The book is essentially about a snowball effect. It can start anywhere. At first it's nothing, but eventually it gains speed and strength until it breaks you to pieces. This is exactly what happened to Hannah. In the story, the thirteen reasons actually relate to different people. The tapes are then sent to each person so they will know and finally understand the destruction they're capable of. It's interesting because when someone passes away, many people are usually left with many unanswered questions. At the start of this story, Clay doesn't know anything about her death. I feel that he also believes that she didn't really have a reason to put an end to her life. By the end, everything- even the things that had nothing to do with him- seemed to be overwhelming. He wished that he'd never been included in these tapes.
I will recommend this story to everyone- male or female, young or old. You never know, the message may just save a life. Please spread the word.
Go to www.13rwproject.com for more information.