Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
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 why 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 firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

I finally read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and just in time for the new Netflix tv show based on the book.

It’s such a heartbreaking story, about a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her and she threw it away.

I’ve seen that some readers have left low reviews saying that Hannah let small things get her down, that she died for nothing.

But they weren’t small things. Hannah’s suicide – it was such a waste. But that’s how depression works. Insidious. How it creeps up on you and you don’t notice until it’s too late. How your life feels hopeless. If you’re not strong enough, can’t will yourself out of it, it can drown you. And when you’re drowning, you’re unable to call for help, unable to accept it when it’s given.

She got to a point where she lost any self-respect for herself. She didn’t have the willpower or the courage to do the right thing. That, more than anything, drowned her.

Why is it so hard to do the right thing? For people to be considerate? This book didn’t just portray Hannah’s decisions but the other kids involved in her life who were selfish and who used others to benefit themselves. How many of us can say we would have done the right thing in her shoes? It’s easy to say it, but harder to live it when you see the injustice and cruelty happening around you. Do we really know what a person is truly going through?

The one I felt the most for, was Clay. It’s the people left behind who are the ones who hurt the worst.

Jay Asher wrote a story which emphasized real issues that are happening in our high schools, issues like bullying, peer pressure, sexual abuse, stalking, rape. High school should be a safe place and instead, it’s a minefield. How many kids end up drowning under those problems? How many are like Hannah? Who don’t have anyone to talk to, someone who listens to them? Who are misunderstood? Who feel invisible or who are crushed down by other people?

Thirteen Reasons Why was a well-written story. Maybe it can sensitize others into thinking of the consequences of their actions and give them the courage to do the right thing.

S.R. McKade

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