Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
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Rating: 4 stars
Bought this book after a friend told me about it.

In A Nutshell:
This book really took me through the emotional ringer.  I expected the story to be emotional, but this book surpassed my expectations and left me with a lot to think about.  I am glad that I read it as it is one of the best written, most gripping stories I have read this year.  I could not put it down in much the same way that Clay could not stop listening to the tapes, but I do not think I could read it again.  I could not handle going through that emotional ringer a second time.

After losing someone important to you, it is natural to ask why or what did I miss.  When that person takes her own life, the need to know why or what was missed magnifies. 

Clay and some of his classmates get the opportunity to hear Hannah’s story after her suicide, but are they really ready to hear what she has to say?  How will they live with what they learned?

Thirteen Reasons Why explores Clay’s journey through learning Hannah’s story.  Jay Asher masterfully leads the reader through all of Clay’s emotions: surprise when he hears Hannah’s voice, guilt over the role he played in her story, anger at the others who played a role in her story, and overwhelming sadness and regret at missing the chance to really tell her how he felt about her. 

In his exploration, Clay discovers how small, seemingly insignificant and unrelated events snowballed to the point that Hannah felt hopeless.  Clay’s exploration leads the reader to question: what do you do when you hear a rumor, see a list where people are described in unflattering terms, or see someone needs help?  Do you ignore it?  Do you try to make a stand and stop it?  Or do you continue spreading without seeing it turn into a destructive snowball?

What are the consequences and who suffers from those consequences?  Who pays the price for your actions or inactions?

I have not read a book that affected me like Thirteen Reasons Why in a long time.  It is hard to compare it to anything else, but Jay Asher has a book coming out in November that I am excited about.  I hope it is as gripping as Thirteen Reasons Why.


  1. Hey! Thanks for following my blog & leaving a comment! I am now following you! :)

  2. +JMJ+

    I haven't read this one yet, but I'm sure it's as emotionally wrenching as you say it is. We never expect things to snowball into something so big and bad that it results in another person's suicide. If we did, we wouldn't let them get to that point, would we? But how to know that about them when they're still virtually in "seed" form?

    The last book I finished has a similar plot point: a girl has died mysteriously and many people are in denial about the role they played in her life, if not also in her death.

  3. @Enbrethiliel--It's true. Many of the things that happened, I remembered happening in my high school. People thought they were small but to her they hurt. I think that was the biggest lesson I learned in reading the book. It isn't necessarily how the person who performs the action feels about it--it is about how the person who was the receiver or victim of the action feels about it. If they see it as hurtful then it can lead to problems.

    After reading the book, I have been much more aware of how I treat those around me.