Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | Mini Book Review

May 6, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 3

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | Mini Book ReviewThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published by Razorbill on October 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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0 Stars
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.

I have not reacted this negatively to a book in years, and I was so unbelievably upset by it that I had nightmares. I disagree with all this book stands for, and would not have even finished it if I were not reading it for a class assignment. Bottom line, I feel like this book glamorizes suicide. It makes it look like it’s ok to kill yourself. I was so mad at Hannah the entire time, and my opinion of her and her decision grew less and less as I heard her snide voice and her petty justifications. She killed herself because people were mean to her (in sometimes awful ways, yes.), and instead of confronting them she went and killed herself and then blamed them for it. She did something much worse to them than they did to her by blaming them for her death. It seemed like a revenge suicide—like she killed herself to get back of them, and it just made me mad. People don’t kill themselves for reasons. They do it because a switch has been triggered in their brain that makes them feel like it’s a necessity. It’s a mental thing.

If I set my opinions and feelings aside, I can agree that the writing was done very well. The author inserts Clay’s thoughts and actions as he is listening to Hannah talk, which is unique and real. I enjoyed being in the moment with him. Clay cares deeply, and his thoughts seem very accurate for someone who has his hands tied and is unable to help. Hannah’s voice, while sarcastic and rude, is very much like an argumentative child who is mad at everyone (which is basically what she is). They both portray emotions that are brought out in the reader, and I was very convinced. There has GOT to be a better book out there about suicide, though, because this one is pretty awful in my opinion.

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3 Responses to “Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | Mini Book Review”

  1. Emma @ Miss Print

    Interestingly I liked this one when I read it in grad school although I was not as close a reader at the time. Your thoughts here mirror mine when I was reading All the Bright Places which I found incredibly frustrating. I totally see your points here. I will say that I appreciated parts of this one in terms of it showing how badly things were handled when Hannah started having problems but yes very problematic still.
    Emma @ Miss Print recently posted…Ice: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

  2. Annie

    I read this book maybe three years ago and honestly remember very little of it besides the fact that I had a very positive + passionate reaction to it. But now, I can DEFINITELY see how problematic this book would be. I don’t doubt that if I were to read it now, I’d have the same problem as you about the glamorization of suicide. Though it is an important book about bullying, I also do think that there could’ve been a better way to go about it.
    Annie recently posted…2015 Reading Trends Pt. 1

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