Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
Published on October 18th, 2007
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Young Adult
Narrator: Debra Wiseman, Joel Johnstone
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: What Light
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.
It took me forever to read Thirteen Reasons Why, but I finally did and what all the hype was about when it first came out. This book is very powerful, heartbreaking, and full of hope at the same time.
Thirteen Reasons Why is Hannah’s attempt to justify and explain why she took her own life. We know, from the beginning that she did. After she made that decision, she recorded thirteen tapes and left them for specific people to find. Clay is one of these people. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, a bright student, and he had a crush on Hannah. I really liked Clay and we can see how Hannah’s story moved him so deeply, that it changed him.
Was Hannah justified in taking her own life? I don’t think she was, but then again, it made sense to her. Every little part of her story created a snowball effect that made her very desperate and unable to trust others. I think that if her parents and teachers would have been paying more attentions it would have made a difference, but that’s just me guessing. She sounds bitter, desperate, not precisely seeking vengeance, but wishing she could.
Let me just say that there are some seriously messed up people in Hannah and Clay’s school. Some of them committed truly awful transgressions, even crimes, while others where just having ‘fun’ and did not know the consequences of their acts. This book should be mandatory reading in every middle school.
The topic of this book is very serious and important. Suicide is not laughing matter and Asher tackled it in a way that makes it understandable to the reader. Not only that, but other really hard topics come into place in Hannah’s story, lying, bullying, underage drinking, date rape, negligence and more. The writing is very good, fully of feeling and nuances.
Overall, Thirteen Reasons Why turned out to be an amazing read with an impressive story that will stay with me for a long time.
About the narration: I think that Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman were the perfect choices to read Thirteen Reasons Why. The format of the book is conducive to have two narrators and it makes listening to the book so much easier. It is my first audiobook by either narrator and I loved it, it was very well read/acted.