The Teen Reviewer

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher: 5/5 STARS

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** spoiler alert ** Amazing. Saddening. Real. These are some of the words used to describe this fantastic book, 13 Reasons Why. This book deserves all the awards and praise, it is the kind of book that changes your life. Told through the shockinly real perspectives of Hannah and Clay, it changes the way you see and act. Believe me, after reading 13 Reasons Why, you will never be the same. And is it for the better? I should think so, but I will follow up this question nearing the end.

Amazing. Saddening. Real. These are some of the words used to describe this fantastic book, 13 Reasons Why. This book deserves all the awards and praise, it is the kind of book that changes your life. Told through the shockinly real perspectives of Hannah and Clay, it changes the way you see and act. Believe me, after reading 13 Reasons Why, you will never be the same. And is it for the better? I should think so, but I will follow up this question nearing the end.

When I first picked up a copy, I will admit that I was hesitant. I mean, a book on suicide? That is not my usual cup of tea. Thank goodness I was wrong. All people, even the sci-fi lovers or hopeless romantics should read this novel. It has a way of making you love it and wanting, no NEEDING to finish.

First of all, the layout. It was unique and a fresh way of reading. The layout is in a way that you can hear both of our main characters thoughts. We can hear Clay's thoughts/reactions on Hannah's story while also learning more and more about Hannah herself. I, at first, expected a cliche novel on her giving up her life for the most materialistic matters. It was not like this at all. But, back to the layout. The author, Jay Asher, was able to write the book in such a way that the change in perspective was easy to identify and enjoyable.

The actual plot line was beautifully written. Like the title, it is about the reasons why Hannah Baker killed herself. All 13 reasons why she had to end her life. She recored them all on tapes to be passed along to each person (all 13) who made the impact on her life and if not, a second set of tapes would be distributed to the entire public. Very clever Hannah. Her reasons were in fact good reasons. I am not saying that suicide is an option to turn to but for heaven sakes, the girl asked for help. She went to the guidance counselor, she asked about suicide and clearly showed signs (giving away possesions, changing appearance) that she was depressed. Her reasons spanned from losing her security to losing friendships.

It was more than just any other fiction book. It touched on topics such as suicide and depression, you know the topics we do NOT discuss in school. It also gave us a view on how we all make an impact on eachother's lives. This is one of the messages the author gives us. Every action we do can change someone else's life - but for better or worse? I am now not able to do something without checking twice. If this boy did not create a list titled 'Hot or Not' and placed Hannah on the 'Hot Butt' section, she would not have been touched in a way no girl should be unwillingly touched. If Mr.Porter (damn him) did not let Hannah go, she would have been walking the halls, still alive. He was her last chance, her last chance at life. And since he failed to give her proper advice, she ended her life. That brings upon another human trait that we must overcome. Ignorance. We CHOOSE to not see things. Anyone could have noticed by glance that Hannah was not happy, that she showed the signs of suicide and that she needed help. But nobody did anything because they choose not to. The prospect of someone being so sad that they were willing to kill themselves to end the pain was too much. But we have to do something if we want things to be different.

Suicide is a topic I never thought I would have to learn about. My life is going good, I have high grades, pretty clothes ... people who kill themselves are mentally unstable, ill or want a reason for attention. Right? Wrong. I used to believe all that and now, now I cannot even fathom on why I thought that those who comitted suicide were any worse than me. They had good reasons. Thanks to this book, I have learned that it isn't necessarily their fault. Hannah needed help, she wanted help and she did wait. Long. But in the end, she sadly did take the pills.

Clay is such a greatly formed character. We can truly see him in our minds and visualize what he must have gone through. Poor Clay, having to go through the agony and the tapes to learn his lesson. That you cannot keep waiting. We cannot let fear rule our lives because if we wait to long, the chance may be gone. Forever. Clay was a coward and did not approach Hannah after their kiss. When Hannah ignored him, he didn't press forward. He let it go. And so she left. Luckily, in the end of the book he learnt this and is able to save another (at least I hope)

The romance between Hannah and Clay is undeniable. They obviously were deeply attracted to eachother and the love is there. We can tell that he feels torn apart by her death and that he, Clay, is the only reason she kept living a bit longer. Shame he could not do something.

Overall, 'Thirteen Reasons Why' is an amazing read that everybody should give a chance. I learned about suicide and to do things now, not tomorrow. It had suspense, romance and the ability to make me scream 'Hannah, NO' in the end. This book was so stunning that I felt compelled to actually go to the park just so I could read this novel while swinging. I practically ran to the park today in a dire attempt to finish this book. You have to read it. It is one of those books despite being YA that everyone should read. Give it a chance, what the harm?


As a side note, this book is being turned into a movie. I await the release date although I believe that the book is always better than the movie. Selena Gomez will play the role of Hannah and Logan Lerman (*girly scream*) will (hopefully) play the role as Clay.

Excerpts from the book

"You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything."

"Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true—that aren’t really how we feel—but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.

If you could hear other people’s thoughts, you’d overhear things that are true as well as things that are completely random. And you wouldn’t know one from the other. It’d drive you insane. What’s true? What’s not? A million ideas, but what do they mean?"

"No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same."