Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why: A Book Review

I simply stumbled across this book via my Goodreads account.  I can’t even remember what I was doing on Goodreads (however I’m on it at way more than I should be), but I was either recommended this book or I was searching through lists of books, and it caught my eye.  This is the first book I have read by Jay Asher, and actually the first I have heard of him as well.  Before reading this, I honestly had no idea of the popularity it has recently been gaining.  Much deserved though, in my opinion.  I also enjoyed the fact that this was a stand-alone novel.  I am finding it very difficult to find those in the Young Adult section (not that I don’t love several series right now – actually, that’s the problem; I am involved in too many series).  Sometimes I just love one amazing story that starts and ends in the one book you are holding.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and will be looking for more from Jay Asher!

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Group USA)
Publication Date: October 18, 2007
Pages: 288
Out in Paperback?: Yes; June 14, 2011
My Rating: 5/5


Goodreads Summary:
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.

The main characters, Clay Jenson and Hannah Baker, are fairly likable throughout the book.  I didn’t feel an overwhelming amount of sadness for Hannah’s situation in the beginning as I feel like it took a while to really get to know her; however, I felt this overwhelming sadness for Clay immediately, who receives these 13 tapes one day to figure out how he plays into this story that has such a horrible ending.  I think this was because right away Clay appears as an extremely nice guy, so I was kept interested by trying to figure out why Hannah included him in these tapes.  As more and more details are revealed, I did find myself feeling more for Hannah and wishing that someone had spoken up and stopped her unfortunate suicide.

For whatever reason, I am often drawn to books that detail darker issues, such as suicide.  I find the mysteries that often accompany the story extremely interesting to read, so this book was right up my alley.  The plot definitely kept me interested and entertained.  I found it fairly fast-paced right away and didn’t want to put the book down.   The side of the cassette tapes marks each chapter, so every time you would pick up the book, a new piece to the puzzle was revealed.  I felt that this was such a unique way to tell the story, and definitely nothing like what I have read before.

Writing Style:
This is the one aspect of this book that pushed it from 4 out of 5 giraffes (aren’t those little giraffes the cutest?!) to a full 5 out of 5.  I absolutely loved how this book was written!  It totally reminded me of my favorite movie, Memento, where the movie is split into scenes that are flashbacks (that are shown in color) and scenes that are taking place in the present (shown in black and white).  However, these scenes are intermixed with one another.  And the movie is kind of told backwards … if you’ve seen the movie, then you totally know what I’m talking about or else it probably sounds really confusing.  I promise it is an amazing thriller and ranks way up there in my all time favorite movies.  Anyway, let’s get back on track.  This book’s writing style reminds me of that movie in the way that Hannah’s tapes (the past) and Clay’s thoughts and actions (the present) are alternated throughout the pages.  I really enjoy the fact that the point-of-view didn’t simply change via the chapters, but literally, on some pages; the different perspectives were alternated by every paragraph, every sentence at some points.  I feel that this was a very unique writing style; and combine with the unique way in which the story is told via tapes, I couldn’t put the book down for very long so it had to come on vacation with me so I could finish it up!

Have you read this book? What did you think? I recently read somewhere that this book was being made into a movie, starring Selena Gomez.  I think I would definitely have to check it out since I have read the book.  Have you heard about this? Would you go see it?

FTC Disclaimer:
All items mentioned were purchased by me.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links were used.

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