Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons WhyPublished: October 18, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: E-book
Source: Amazon
Challenge: 2011 E-book Challenge 100 Books in a Year
Finished: 7/14/11

Clay Jenkins 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. ((From GoodReads))
First Sentences
"Sir?" she repeats.  "How soon do you want it to get there?" 
I rub two fingers, hard, over my left eyebrow.  The throbbing has become intense.  "It doesn't matter," I say.  
The clerk takes the package.  The same shoebox that sat on my porch less than twenty-four hours ago; rewrapped in a brown paper bag, sealed with clear packing tape, exactly as I had received it.

My Thoughts
I literally could not put this book down. Read it all in about three hours!

Clay receives a set of cassette tapes that contain the thirteen reasons why Hannah has committed suicide. Hannah created these tapes as a sort of explanation of why she felt like she had no escape other than death. There are seven tapes, and each side of the tape is devoted to one person, and their actions that led to Hannah's death. When Clay receives the tapes he has no idea what they are or who they are from, as there is no return label on the plain brown package. Once he starts listening to the tapes he cannot stop. He must figure out what part he played in driving his high school crush to death.This is an incredible story that had me hooked from the first line. I felt like the back and forth narration between Hannah and Clay was the perfect way to write this! Honestly, when I found out what the spark was that started the snowball effect leading to Hannah's death I thought it was so stupid! Who would be so upset about something so seemingly harmless? But that is exactly the point!

I thought that Asher's choice in characters was fantastic. Hannah is a new kid in high school, which is every teens dream! You get a second chance to be whomever you want. People don't have to know about your past and you can start fresh! I know there were plenty of times in high school that I wished I could start over. . .but Asher just goes to show us that second chances aren't always what they seem.

Clay was the perfect character to follow through the tapes with. He has a crush on Hannah but has never given himself the opportunity to get to know her because he was scared of being rejected. He had heard all the rumors about her, and figured he would never have a chance with her. He finally got to talk to her at a party one night, the night that everything came together and Hannah made up her mind. Clay is full of raw emotion, which left me feeling like I knew Hannah as well and I was listening to the tapes trying to figure out what I did wrong.

I don't want to give anything away, but I will tell you that this is a book that will change you. When I read the last lines I just sat there, stunned and silenced. Suicide is such a sensitive topic to write about, but Asher has done so well in this book. I hope that not only do people enjoy reading this book, but also that they become more aware of how they make others feel. You never truly know how someone else is feeling.

Favorite Quotes
"Maybe it's best to get through the day half-asleep.  Maybe that's the only way to get through today."

"Now, the truth is the one you won't forget."

"The wonderful thing about a yearbook photo is that everyone shares a moment with you . . . forever."

"Right then, in that office, with the realization that no one knew the truth about my life, my thoughts about the world were shaken."

"I wanted them to know me.  Not the stuff they thought they knew about me.  No, the real me.  I wanted them to get past the rumors.  To see beyond the relationships I once had, or maybe still had but that they didn't agree with.  And if I wanted people to treat me that way, then I had to do the same for them, right?"

"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."

"If my love were an ocean, 
there would be no more land.
If my love were a desert, 
you would see only sand.
If my love were a star --
late at night, only light.
And if my love could grow wings,
I'd be soaring in flight."

"Looking back, I stopped writing in my notebook when I stopped wanting to know myself anymore."

"If you hear a song that makes you cry, and you don't want to cry anymore, you don't listen to that song anymore.  But you can't get away from yourself.  You can't decide not to see yourself anymore.  You can't decide to turn off the noise in your head."

"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 persons life, you're messing with their entire life. 
Everything . . .affects everything."

"You can't go back to how things were.  How you thought they were. 
All you really have  . . . is now."

My Ratings
Cover: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall: 5

Happy Reading! 

1 comment:

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and I finally got it recently -- I can't wait to read it. Your review makes it sound so incredible and powerful.


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