Book Review – 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Genre – Young Adult
No. of pages – 336
Publishing Date – October 18th, 2007
Characters – Clay Jensen, Hannah Baker, Bryce Walker, Jessica Davis, Justin Foley, Tyler Down, Courtney Crimsen, Alex Standall, Mr. Porter, Marcus Cooley, Zach Dempsey, Ryan Shaver, Jenny Kurtz
Setting – San Luis Obispo, California (United States)
Literary Awards – Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee for Honor book (2009), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book (2010), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Nominee for Preis der Jugendjury (2010), California Book Award Silver Medal, Lincoln Award (2013)
Missouri Gateway Readers Award (2010), Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for High School (2010)
My Rating – 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

 

My Views :
’13 Reasons Why’ is a book, which starts in the dark and ends in the dark. There’s no respite to the reader whatsoever from the brutal reality which the book encompasses. Since I have now read the book two times (It is probably the first book which I have re-read), it has definitely made it into my all time favorites list.
Recently adapted into a Netflix series ( which you should definitely watch even if you haven’t read the book because it is studded with some splendid performances), this book talks about the reality which we need to focus on in an honest tone. Jay Asher has probably done the best work of his life in the form of this book because of which it has become a kind of worldwide phenomenon.
Back when I read this book a year or two ago, it definitely had an impact on me and it was one of my favorites at that time. But people weren’t much aware about this beauty. It was there but whenever I asked my friends about this book, they said that they were completely unaware of it. And needless to say, whomever I recommended this book ultimately became a big fan of it.
I guess people were so infatuated by the likes of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ or books like that that this book didn’t made that impact which it deserves on the masses. But thanks to the Netflix series, it has come into the limelight and finally talks are happening about the issue of “Depression” and “Suicide” which have been portrayed in the book.
So first of all, let me tell you what I absolutely liked about this book:
1) Honesty – As I said before also, this book was brutally honest. Though here in India, schooling system is quite different and people might not be able to connect that much, but still being once a high school student, I could completely relate to the bullying and mental tension once I put myself in that place. The book doesn’t go around beating the bush, it came straight to point which was extremely interesting to read through.

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The story hits home in a striking way

2) Innovation – The medium through which Hannah tells her story, those 7 tapes is truly a fascinating device used by Jay Asher. Normally we would expect letters or people telling us things but in this case, the author came up with something to which gives you more feels than any of the former devices. I mean just imagine, listening to a dead girl give up!

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The use of tapes as a medium of telling the story is something new

3)Narrator – Clay Jensen is an absolutely adorable figure. His shy personality and the dedication with which he listens to those tapes hanging onto each word of Hannah Baker is something to lookout for.

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Clay Jensen is an a character we want to see more of in books

4)Topic – Needless to say, the topic of suicide which still many people shy away from talking, couldn’t have been brought to light any better than this. The author chose something which holds an important place in today’s world and something which need to be talked about before it becomes a ‘snowball effect’ . He doesn’t let anything rosey slip in between. He portrays it as it is, dark and straight to effect.

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Suicide is a topic which needs to be talked about

As such, there is nothing which I dislike about this (I never do in these 5 star ones). For me it’s a complete epic package, a tightly constructed story, two lovable characters and the truth. But still there is one thing which I felt could have been done. If not in the main story, but after the story ends, or as an epilogue, the author could have told us more about what happened to the character, those ’13 Reasons’ after Clay Jensen finished listening to the tapes. I would have been all eyes and ears to know that whether Hannah got the justice she deserved or not, whether some people got their due or not.
But the above thing is something which I personally would want to know and may not apply to everyone, because it is a rather tightly constructed novels and as they say:
“Some things are better left unsaid”
All said and done, ’13 Reasons Why’ is one book you just cannot afford to miss. It’s not very long so it won’t creep into much of your schedule and it is a guaranteed page turner, with bagful of emotions.
Read this one because it talks about something important in an interesting no nonsensical way. Read this because you might need this one or if not you, the boy/girl who sits in the class next to you might be struggling. Read this so that someone who is struggling can obtain your help. Maybe you can do something for them.
Because :
“It has to change.
The way we treat each other and look out for each other, it has to get better.”

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