THIRTEEN REASONS WHY
by Jay Asher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Razorbill; 1st edition (October 18, 2007)
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
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.
WOW! What can you say when you just have read something that is so profound and moving that you cannot believe what has just transpired: that with each breath you take it brings forth a little more understanding, a little more pain and despite that pain you’re glad that you experienced it. That is exactly how I felt after reading THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher and I am so kicking myself for not reading this amazing book years ago.
The book starts out like any other day for Clay Jensen, until he receives a box of tapes that unveil the startling and painful confession of Hannah Baker, former classmate and suicide victim. It is at this point that the story takes on it’s alternating POV with Hannah slowly and methodically explaining her thirteen reasons why and Clay trying to understand and question why he is given these tapes. As each reason floats into Jensen’s ears he is filled with sadness and hatred for those that hurt Hannah, but mainly for himself for he saw all the signs and he stood by and did nothing. A fact that these tapes confirm but that he is powerless to change.
As Hannah’s story came to light I understood her feelings of betrayal, her loneliness and sadness and my chest would get so heavy, I couldn’t breathe. Her pain was so raw and real that I would have to step away and stop so that I could process everything. I consider myself lucky to have an amazing support system so that if I had a bad day I would have many to help me, but what if things were different? That is when I see this story being a reality for many and it breaks my heart.
With THIRTEEN REASONS WHY I suspect that, despite some heartbreaking touches, it isn’t purely fiction. Blowing through Asher’s vision of a lonely and misunderstood girl is the bone-chilling wind of truth; that words and actions have repercussions that cause a ripple that fan out and effect everyone around us. I highly recommend this read to everyone, but be forewarned because you will never forget it.
“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”
— Jay Asher
(Thirteen Reasons Why