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.
(Story synopsis from book cover)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher has been on my reading list for a while now, however I just got around to reading this book over Thanksgiving Break. I had heard mixed reviews about the book, but I can truly say I am so glad that I read this novel. It was a great creation by Asher.
The story immediately draws you in as you are first introduced to Clay, one of the thirteen on the list that receives the tapes from Hannah. Asher did an interesting job of mixing together Hannah’s story as she tells the events that led up to her suicide, and Clay’s thoughts and reactions as he follows Hannah’s story. As I was reading this story, I kept thinking how terrible the story was. I don’t mean terrible as in it’s a bad story or terribly written. No, instead I mean that it was terrible in how honest and real it was. The truth of it, the honesty of the story was gut-clenching…literally, I could feel my stomach clenching during certain parts.
The writing itself was fantastic though. The emotions being felt were wonderfully conveyed. I found it fascinating that Asher chose to have a male character listening to the tapes of Hannah. I think it added to the contrast of perspectives. It was interesting to see events from both sides…as Clay saw them and how Hannah saw them.
I think that Thirteen Reasons Why is a fantastic YA Lit novel, but I also think it’s important for adults to read for a better understanding of teenagers. As a high school teacher I found this novel to be really insightful. In my opinion, I think Asher’s novel is a must read.