Friday, March 16, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher [Review]

2.5 out of 5 Robots!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Genre:  Young Adult
Release: October 18, 2007
Hardcover: 288 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill
My Copy: Personal Copy
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.

Shannon's Thoughts:
Ooh boy.  Thirteen Reasons Why is a real hard one for me to review.  I mean, how do you review a book about suicide?  It is such a personal, controversial subject but one that needs to be talked about more.  Especially given the recent influx in teen suicides due to bullying.  Because I've never been in Hannah's position, I don't feel comfortable commenting on her reasons and whether they are "good enough" reasons to commit suicide.  But bullying does play a big part in Hannah's decision to commit suicide.  She records the tapes with the instructions to pass them on to those who have wronged her. There isn't one particular person to blame, but instead, each person's actions snowballed until Hannah felt alone and unable to continue with life.

The book has such great promise and a good message, but it just didn't sit right with me.  Hannah seemed so vindictive and it is hard for me to connect with her.  I don't blame her for being angry, but I never felt her depression.  She also makes an awful decision towards the end that makes me very angry.  And I felt she never accepted the any blame for her actions.  This decision essentially destroys another person's life, but I never really feel that Hannah is truly sorry.  I found it so hypocritical that she sends these tapes and spreads the blame around, but doesn't take responsibility for something that happens that is (arguably) worse than anything that happened to her.

So, the book doesn't really work for me.  Again, I think the message is VERY important.  Our actions carry a lot of weight and accepting the stone throwing is just as damaging as being the one casting the stones.  But I couldn't relate or connect with Hannah as a character and I had a really hard time getting past the end. 


  1. Whew! So glad I wasn't the only one.

  2. I had a really similar reaction to this book. I'd retitle it 13 Excuses Why.

  3. It always makes me feel better (and less guilty) when I see others feel the same way about a book. haha



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