Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 13 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 why he made the list.
Thirteen Reasons Why is sad, amazing, heartbreaking, and hopeful, all at the same time. You’ll have no choice but to think about your actions, and wonder what type of effect they have on other people.
“I wanted to push Stop on the Walkman and rewind their whole conversation. To rewind into the past and warn them. Or prevent them from even meeting. But I can’t. You can’t rewrite the past.” (pg. 60)
When I began reading, I was uneasy about the concept of the book. I just couldn’t think that it was a good idea. Helen had recommended it, so I kept reading and within a few pages, I was drawn in, and I had to keep reading. Asher draws two compelling characters in Clay and Hannah, although at times I struggled to relate and understand Hannah.
Hannah’s narration is intertwined with Clay’s actions and memories, sometimes making the story confusing. Yet, it does help to better understand both Clay’s and Hannah’s emotions, especially since I struggled to understand Hannah’s reasons why. For a debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why is exceptionally well-written for such a serious topic.
(Note: For an interview with first time author, Jay Asher, click here.)
- Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why. New York: Razorbill, 2007. Print. 304 pgs. ISBN: 1595141715. Source: Library.