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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
ISBN: 9781595141712
Publisher: Razorbill
Page #: 288
Source: My public library

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package 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.

Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself - a truth he never wanted to face."
First Lines:

"'Sir?' she repeats. 'How soon do you want it to get there?'
I rub two fingers, hard over my left eyebrow. The throbbing has become intense. 'It doesn't matter,' I say."
Page 1

This book is a doozie. I have been told by numerous people - teens and adults alike - to read this book. I guess I'm glad I did, but holy hell! It totally grabs you by the throat from the beginning and really doesn't let go.

I read this book in less than 24 hours. Very similar to how the main character (Clay) spends a whole night listening to all of the tapes - which may have made this story even more powerful for me. It's the story of a boy receiving these 13 recordings on cassette tapes from a girl who recently committed suicide. The tapes explain what was going on in her life and they were sent to all the people who had a hand in making her life miserable.

This is the most powerful book I've read in a long time. It is just so honest and raw that you feel like you're living the life of Hannah. Her voice is really familiar and normal-seeming. There's just something about it that really struck my heart. The book is super emotional - yet I'm not sure that it made me cry. A little toward the ending, but it's more anger at teenage stupidity (not Hannah's) and how easy it seems to give up.

All you can do is sit back and watch the house of cards fall. It's hard to not think about what you'd say on tapes if it were you. Who would you send them to? Would you send some to the people you love too? Or just the ones you feel are responsible?

This book also opens up the very serious discussion of suicide. I can't help but think that it would be an awesome read for a peer group or just one on one with someone having trouble. As you read through, you think about how Hannah's problems and miseries don't have to add up to suicide. And then thinking about what could have brought about a different outcome - which is something that Clay really gets into as well. Enough that he's almost rooting for someone to change what happened.

It's a hell of a book, and I think it will be great for the right readers. I can't imagine anyone it would be bad for, honestly. But it's such a heavy topic, I'm not sure how easy it will be to recommend it. But I really do. I recommend it highly. The writing is real and honest... the story is gut wrenching... just all around wonderful. Fine, everyone needs to read it. Adults especially, because I think it's as close as you can get to a teen brain at the moment.

The author's blog is linked above, but also check out the website for the book. There's lots of good stuff there.
Other Blog Reviews:

I'm Booking It
Typing With My Toes
Capricious Reader
The Book Lady's Blog
Flight Into Fantasy
Bewitched Bookworms
The Book Whisperer
This is only the first page of google results. Lots of reviews to read out there. Check them out.


Lindsay Cummings author said...

new follower on GFC! found your blog on the YA book blog directory!i love it and i'm excited to read more! i need to read this book!

follow me?!


Sonythebooklover said...

After reading your review I gotta read this book!!! I must admitt I've been circling around it cuz I love the cover, but I'll definitely pick it up now.

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