13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

September 19, 2014     erinbook     Book review

by Jay Asher

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher


Release Date: October 18, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
304 Pages
Received: Bought for a book signing
Format: *signed* Hardcover


Rating: 

3.5 Nuts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Description: 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: I started this book for two reasons. The first: that I was tired of failing questions from this book on QuizUp. The second: that I needed a break from reading Afterworlds on my nook. The e-reader was starting to give me a headache.
From start to finish this book took me a little over two hours to read. That’s it, I read it in one sitting. And this is why: this book is engrossing. It’s intense. It’s sad. I do have to say, no, I don’t think it lives up to the hype. Few books with this level of hype can fill those shoes, and there enough things to irk me to keep this one from doing it.
So the main character is a boy who likes a girl who completed suicide. For those of you who don’t know, the accepted term is completed, not committed. He finds a box on his porch filled with tapes, tapes that describe the reasons why the girl decided to complete. The stories range from pathetic to disgusting, pretty much proving how awful teenagers can be.
So, my issues with the book. Some may seem little, but they all add up. Kind of like the incidents in the book. First, there’s our girl Hannah. There are some things in the way she tells the story that just bug me. Sometimes is blaming people for little things, sometimes it’s just in the phrasing. She’s not an unlikable character, but I wasn’t able to really fully empathize. Sometimes these little moments put a wall between me and her, so I couldn’t feel the emotions that I should. Here’s a big tell: I did not tear up, not once. Books like this usually can bring a tear or two to my eye, unless there’s something very wrong. Even reading Tease by Amanda Maciel, a book that I really didn’t care for in this genre, I had a moment poignant enough to at least make me teary. Here: not a one. Not even a little. The book is certainly sad but I just could not get to that place emotionally with it.
Ok, my other big issue with the book is a bit spoilerific, sorry, there’s not a way to talk about this without doing that. Spoilers will be in pink, skip over it if you don’t want to be spoiled.
So my second big issue here is with Clay, or Mr. Perfect as everyone seems to think of him in this book. Ok, really? No teenager is this perfect, valedictorian or not. Even Hannah thinks so, and that’s the other bit to this: Clay is on the tape but he hasn’t done anything wrong. Ok girl, go ahead and torture the poor boy who liked you, who would have been there if you let him. Make him feel like he’d done something wrong and then go, “oh no, actually he’s fine”. Let him hear all the horrible things that happened to you and see all the signs that he missed. Yes, that’s how to treat him. From an audience stand point that’s a bit of a let down as well, you build up all this emotion in Clay, wondering what he’s done only to say “nope, not you, you didn’t do anything horrible.” Bit anti-climatic don’t you think?
 
This book is certainly not awful, in fact I think its pretty good. It’s just not the amazing emotional ride people have said it is. If it wasn’t intense and absolutely riveting then I wouldn’t have devoured it in two hours. But I did, and it is. I had to know why, something I think everyone feels when something like this actually happens. That’s real, a real emotion of our need to understand. Jay Asher did a wonderful job of making the reader feel that need.
What did you think of 13 Reasons Why? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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One response to “13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  1. I have been looking for an honest review of this book as I'm hoping to start it soon. Thanks for open review, I may have read the spoiler but I still plan to try reading it.

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