09 December 2012

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

SYNOPSIS: 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.

REVIEW: This has got to be one of the best books I've ever read. Thirteen Reasons Why tells a compelling story about Hannah, and girl who committed suicide, and thirteen reasons that pushed her to the edge. 
When I read the synopsis I literally got goosebumps. The cover alone gives me chills. I wanted to read it but at the same time I was worried it might be too disturbing. I was wrong. I enjoyed every page, I read with such speed because I couldn't get enough. I had to know why Hannah killed herself. And I had to know Clay's role in it.
I don't even know how to begin this review because there are no words to describe how amazing this book is ("no words" and yet here I am reviewing it).

It's my first time to read a book written this way. It was interesting to read Hannah's story told through the tapes Clay listens to. It painted a clear picture of Hannah without her actually being present in the book. Everything happened in one day on Clay's end but on Hannah's, it involved a series of events that took place in a long span of time. Reading  the past (the tapes) intertwined with the present (Clay's thoughts and narration) created a beautiful effect that really brought the story to life. It made me feel how painful it was for Clay to listen to those tapes and feeling so useless because he wasn't able to do anything to stop Hannah from killing herself. Clay talking to Hannah's recorded voice was one of the most painful things for me. I cried with Clay and I felt Hannah's pain.
There's no other way for me to review this book without giving anything off because to discuss the events that took place in the book or the characters involved would equate to spoiling it. So I'll just say this: this is a must read. This book showed how our actions, even the seemingly meaningless ones, can make or break someone else without us even knowing it. More importantly, it could help shed light on one of the most pressing issues around the globe - suicide. The book's a work fiction but at the end of it all, it left me thinking this could happen in real life. Jay Asher's storytelling really pulled me in. Thirteen Reasons Why is a highly compelling story that you shouldn't miss out on.


Jay Asher
Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. At this point in his life, he had decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.

He has published only one book to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, which was published in October 2007. He is currently working on his second Young Adult novel, and has written several picture books and screenplays. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high reviews from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Kormon.

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