Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I used to write reviews on Goodreads.com but after a while I just decided to post the reviews to my blog and only use Goodreads to rate and keep track of the books I've read. As I rated Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher I felt like that wasn't enough. This book needed more than my five star rating. I had to write something. So I did. It was short and to the point.

If I could give this book more stars I would. Heartbreaking and powerful. A story that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

For those of you that are not familiar with Thirteen Reasons Why, a quick overview from Jay Asher's website:

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

I heard the hype. Read the praise. Still I was hesitant to pick this book up. Why? Because I knew it was going to be difficult to read. The entire book revolves around suicide.  A heartbreaking topic that makes me cry even if it is just a newspaper headline. I pushed my reservations aside and began to read. And I am so happy that I did. From that first page I was sucked in. I read as Clay discovered the tapes and then began to listen to them. And then it was as if I became Clay. I felt what he felt, pondered the same questions, tried to piece the puzzle together as the tapes revealed more and even had my own comments for Hannah as I read through her tapes.

I know it's a book, but as the pieces put themselves together Clay became real and my heart broke for him. There was pity, sympathy and even admiration because he continued to listen. I don't think I would have had the strength to do so. Curiosity can only get you so far.

In the beginning the stories that she tells seem just like any other drama a teenage girl goes through but it all came together in what Hannah called the snowball effect. Each story leads to another and they only get painstakingly worse. What Jay Asher shows is how one little incident, that can be taken lightly for the most part, can trigger a chain of incidents that are not little and in no way can be taken lightly. The way he weaved the events together and how each person had a bigger role than what you originally perceived had my mouth falling open more times than I can count.

This book had me up till 1AM. I couldn't go to sleep until I knew how it ended, to know who was the last person on the tape. I needed to know how Hannah's story ended and why. Then as I read the very last word I couldn't go to sleep. How can you sleep after reading a book like that? My eyes weren't as wet and swollen as you would think. I shed a few tears during Clay's tape but other than that the tears managed to keep themselves at bay. However, my mind was heavy, so heavy I couldn't just lay down and go to sleep. I felt as if I had just lost a friend and I was the one who had to deal with the repercussions of my actions or lack of. Thankfully, the back of the book had the first three pages of Jay Asher's new book, The Future of Us. I read the three sample pages. Four times! I needed something to clear my mind. Anything. In the end I was finally able to fall asleep. Still when I woke up Clay was on my mind. Hannah was on my mind.

There are great books and then there are GREAT books and this was a GREAT book. I can not recommend it enough. I just advise you not to read it close to your bedtime.

Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why? I'd loved to hear your thoughts. If you haven't, do you think you will?

Ten Books In Ten Days Update (As of 10PM on 1/16):
2.5 books down 7.5 to go
7 days and 2 hours left on the countdown (I think? I keep second guessing myself. I'm obviously having a moment.)


  1. I read this book in two sittings. Such a great read in a 'horrible' sense. So beautifully written. I read Jay Asher's latest one and it was okay. This one was way better.

    1. Really? I think it's such a great concept too. But it doesn't surprise me. I'll probably pick it up eventually.

  2. Hi there!

    I just wanted to let you know that I left you awards over at my blog!!

    Pop on over and get em' :)