Thursday, December 2, 2010

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Th1rteen R3asons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Hardcover, 288 pages
Date Published: October 18, 2007

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Jay Asher s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative -- alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening -- this honest, poignant story reveals how other people's actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual's faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.
Wow. Just wow. I feel like I need to start a round of applause for Jay Asher because what he has done here, it’s amazing. The story starts with Clay Jensen, a nice, wholesome, all around good guy who receives a package of cassette tapes narrated by a dead girl. A dead girl who committed suicide and who names thirteen different people as a contributing factor on the tapes. Clay is one of those people.

Hannah Baker’s suicide comes as a surprise to most everyone in the community, but she chronicles her feelings and her decision through 7 tapes and 13 people. Asher uses the dual narrative of Hannah and Clay to lead the reader back to the moment when it happened; when and how Hannah decided to give up and just why these 13 people are so important in that decision. The dual narrative is confusing at times, but I got used to it quickly.

Asher doesn’t shy away from the stigma that surrounds suicide, he embraces it. Hannah Baker is selfish for what she does, but in a way, she knows that. To me, suicide is an incredibly selfish act because the people who are left behind, those are the ones that suffer, but Hannah’s reasoning is all too common. What happens to her happens in real life, all too often. And her thirteen reasons – while some may not seem good enough – are enough to lead her to her final action. Clay’s part in the tapes, in Hannah’s life, and in the aftermath, drives the reader to continue on. He forces us to care for Hannah even when what she’s doing seems horrible, because he cares.

Part mystery, part suspense, and sadly, realistic, Th1rteen R3asons Why is a moving look into suicide and how one person’s actions can change another forever. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that made me want to do more, to be better, and to always consider my actions, but this book has done just that. Asher’s debut is powerful, honest, and all-too real. Th1rteen R3asons Why is a book that is more than worthy of its praise and I only hope that it has the same effect on others as it had on me.

Opening lines:
“Sir?” she repeats. “How soon do you want it to get there?” ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: I’m listening to someone give up. Someone I knew. Someone I liked. I’m listening. But still, I’m too late. ~ pg. 146

And this one:
No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same. ~ pg. 156

*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Jay Asher online:

Buy it online:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | The Book Depository

The book website has all the tapes to listen to. It's incredible to listen to - it's exactly how I imagined Hannah would sound:

4 comments:

Melissa said...

I keep putting this off because I wasn't really sure what it was about, but I think I need to read it now. My cousin killed herself the day before I was born, and while I didn't know her, something like that stays with your family. I'm glad to hear this is so well-written. Great review, Nikki :)

Jessica (BookLover) said...

Great review! I loved this book. :) I hear the audiobook version is very well done. I'd really like to listen to it someday.

Kylie1403 said...

GREAT review!!! The book is now on my wishlist

Bere said...

Excellent review, Nikki. I’ve had this book on my reading list for a while. I have to admit that I’ve been a little scare to pick it up, because of the topic. It sounds like a heartbreaking novel. Your review has definitely encouraged me to read this one soon. Again, excellent review! Thanks a bunch, Nikki. =)

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