A review: Thirteen Reasons Why

While I was reading Thirteen Reasons I thought it was okay, well written, something different but nothing special. Once I had finished though, I started to think about the story more and somehow in hindsight I liked it a bit more.

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher is a heartbreaking tale of teen suicide.

It’s one of those stories you read where you know what’s coming, you know that you can’t change what lies ahead, but you find yourself talking to the book, telling that one character what to do, what not to do, how to avert the disaster which so obviously awaits them – except it’s worse than that because from the very first sentence, the first word, it’s too late. Hannah Baker is dead.

Hannah has left behind a shoebox full of cassette tapes*  The box of tapes is making the rounds to a select list of people, people that Hannah feels are to blame, in part, for her death. Clay has just received the box. He has no idea why anyone would send him old audiotapes, but he heads into his garage and dusts off his dad’s stereo. He loads the first tape, hits play, and is shocked to hear Hannah’s voice. The voice of a dead girl. The girl liked.

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ follows Clay as he struggles through each of the tapes.

Seven tapes, thirteen stories. He doesn’t want to listen, doesn’t want to hear his own name, but he can’t stop. He needs to know, he needs to understand.

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ is Jay Asher’s debut novel. It’s very well written. The characters are real. The tragedy and loss, palpable. It’s also a story of how each of us touches, connects with, has an influence upon the lives of others around us and how we need to be more aware, more sensitive to that.

There is some content which I feel is not suitable for younger teens, namely sexual assault, so I won’t be passing this one to my daughter anytime soon, but I will make it available to her when she’s a little older.

*History lesson: Cassette tapes are from the stone age, ask your parents if they have any fossilized remains they could show you. Before Ipods and MP3s music came on CDs and before CDs music came on cassette tapes.


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