13 March 2014

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Oh, how long have I heard of you, read about you, pondered buying you, went back and forth with reading, before finally giving in and opening to that first page. And from that moment on, I was hooked.

Once Clay pushes play on the tapes left for him by his crush Hannah, who recently committed suicide, I was drawn in. Hannah talks to Clay (us) about the collection of events leading up to her death, weaving together people and events in an artful, melancholy, humorous, devastating story. Intermixed with Hannah's narration are Clay's reactions which when I first heard about the dual narrative structure worried me. Wouldn't his reactions be a bit unnecessary, especially if Hannah's voice is strong enough? Nope. Wrong. Definitely glad Clay is there. His reactions aren't simply a stand-in for what the reader is supposed to feel; they offer further insight rather than merely complementing Hannah.

And I loved Hannah's voice. She was straightforward without being mechanical, sarcastic without being too snarky, and obviously sad without being whiny or overly dramatic. While I spent a great deal of time being angry with her - silly teenager won't ask for help - I think I was supposed to be angry with her, just like I was supposed to be sad for her, mad with her, mad at her, disappointed in her, and proud of her. I was always feeling with her.

As for plot, what I loved about the story is that while we know Hannah commits suicide, we don't know why, and what we are really, really interested in is figuring out how Clay fits into her narrative. After all, who is this boy? He seems so normal and nice. What could he have done? The suspense of the plot revolves around this question for me - and for Clay as he genuinely cannot figure out why Hannah would send him these tapes.

There are so many details of this book I could talk about, events that really stuck with me: the roles the teachers played, the hot tub incident, the heartbreaking randomness of Tony, the question that is Jenny (and so many other characters), and on and on. But I don't have the time to do them justice and honestly I want you to read about them yourself (assuming you haven't already as I'm pretty sure I'm one of the last to read this).

Now I am curious: what other Jay Asher book should I read?


  1. You know that comment I made the other day about having issues reading about teen problems? Well this was one of those books. I couldn't read it. Someday but not now. I've heard so much about it though...some loved the book and others found themselves very frustrated. I HAVE read Asher's "The Future of Us" which was clever and an easy read.

  2. I read this book with my book club and liked it but not as much as everyone else did. I felt like Hannah blamed all of her problems on other people. Sure, that's typical of teens but she needed to take some responsibility for her actions.

  3. I was tempted to read this, but now I can tell, I'd become too vested in Hannah. I'll have to check if you read Fault in Our Stars. Checking your archives now.


Talk to me baby!