Published by Razorbill on October 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction
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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.