Mar 24, 2010

Review | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Publication: October 18, 2007 by Razorbill
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.

Thoughts: Although I liked it, I was a bit iffy about this book the entire time I was reading it. I've read great reviews on it, saying it was really great and all that good stuff, but for some reason, I didn't think it was that good.

I really liked the concept, the plot, the whole idea of someone leaving tapes of why they committed suicide and other people listening to figure out what drove the over the edge. But for some reason the way the story was developed didn't really satisfy me.

I had a few problems with the book. First off, I didn't like the way it was written with both the tape and what Clay was doing written at the same time. Does that make sense if you haven't read it? Maybe not. What I mean is that you are reading what he's listening to the tapes, and at the same time reading whatever else he's doing while listening to them. I know it won't make much sense if you haven't read it and I probably just confused you but that just confused me in the book. I really didn't find Clay all that interesting and was just skipping his moments and reading on to what he was listening to.

Another problem I had was her reasons. Yes, I know that teens go through a lot of tough stuff and sometimes the smallest things that nobody else notices is what finally drives people to commit suicide, but I wasn't able to really connect with Hannah due to her lack of explanation. I mean, sure she had problems, but I felt they were lacking any real depth or feeling.

I also didn't like Clay's role in the story. I don't mean I didn't like him as a character or who he was, because I did. I just like his part in the tapes. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, but I really expected all the people on the tapes to have similar stories, and Clay's story was sort of unique.

Overall, I think this book is enjoyable to some extent. I can see why many people liked it, but I felt that the author didn't give me enough to really connect to the story. There are many people out there who really loved this book, so I definitely recommend everyone to give it a try because you might like it too.


  1. I think that I paid a bit more attention to Clay's story and his "journey" per say, and just let Hannah's narration embellish it, if you know what I mean. I get why some people might not like both plots at the same time though :)

    Yeah, Clay's role kind of surprised me, but I let that go and let my disbelief suspend :P

    a good, honest review!

  2. I agree with you on this one... honestly, I felt it was really shallow. yes, Hannah had problems and I know it was a snowball effect, but her reasons... they weren't any rougher than what other teens go through. AND, liek you said- Clay's role was unique, and the fact that that went basically ignored by her... It didn't work for me. I read it not too long after it came out and honestly thought it really just sent a bad message to teens... =/

  3. This is a great review because I don't think I've seen anything but good things about this book. I've been wanting to read it but I'm not sure when I'll be able to as a friend of mine's husband just committed suicide recently and I can't really handle the topic right now.

  4. I think I'll give it a go. That's the great thing about reviews. Everyone has a different opinion. I just want to open people up to more books that they wouldn't have picked up otherwise. Thanks!

  5. The way it's written does sound confusing. I haven't felt too tempted to read this one, so I may just skip it.

  6. I remember reading this way back when....before I was totally into reading, so I wasn't taking note of it much. I think I should read it again. I do remember liking it though, just because it affected my emotions...And I also agree with you on the part about Hannah and how there isn't much depths in her issues. I wasn't able to connect with her. Anyway, great and honest review!