Book Review | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 photo 97e965f0268aae2c86cd1f847640fbdf_zps39d70bf4.jpgClay 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 learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face. Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.

I must be in the last of the Young Adult book bloggers who had yet to read, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It has become a modern classic on the subject of suicide amongst teens. This novel has taken me through an emotional ride, exposing emotions I had no idea I had on the topic. It is a novel that stays with me.

First off, I think the premise of a person leaving behind tapes explaining why they committed suicide is both fascinating, and partially disturbing. But Jay Asher expertly executes this aspect of the story, raising it to the level of a page turning suspense novel. I found Hannah Baker both frustrating and profound. I loved the authority I sensed in her voice as she 'pulls the strings' in the lives of everyone on her list. At times, especially the beginning to middle of the novel,  I wondered if her reasons for taking her life were valid, but this is where Jay Asher is a clever, clever guy. By the middle to end of this novel, I discovered that, perhaps, Asher wanted me to go there as a reader, only to bring me to the place of truth that no one can gauge valid reasons for someone else. What may come as no big deal to me, may effect someone devastatingly. Each person encompassing Hannah's 13 reasons felt very symbolic of those sides to human nature that we all should be wary of. They are lessons on how not to be lackadaisical  with the people around us, and how our actions affect others. The middle to ending portions of the novel really affected me, as  Hannah spirals downward.

The only portion of the novel that I wasn't as affected by was Clay's character. I sympathized with Clay on some levels, but I found him a bit like a caricature. Almost as if his character, could have been any of the people listed as reasons in this novel. I wanted to sympathize with him more. I also found myself challenged by Hannah's reasoning for having him on the tapes. Clay's story, however, is a wonderful example of how to be more proactive towards those around you, especially those who show warning signs of deeper issues.

Bare in Mind: Thirteen Reasons Why may be triggering for those who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. It also contains some adult content, profanity, and disturbing scenarios.

Thirteen Reasons Why thrilled, challenged, and rendered me speechless at times. It's a novel that, even after two weeks, I'm still thinking about, and wanting to reread to gain further insight. It makes me wonder how often it is that we never truly understand someone until it's too late. I'm sure that this novel will, and is changing the lives of both those who deal with these issues, and those who observe it in others.

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I give Thirteen Reasons Why 4 out of 5 cups of Dr. Pepper.

P.S.- If you, or anyone you know is experiencing depression, or thoughts of suicide, please don't believe that no one cares. If you are willing, there are so many people out there who want to support you, love you, and spur you on. I know whatever you are going through feels like it can swallow your world, but I'm telling you that it gets better. And if you're going through bullying, I can totally assure you that you that it gets better. If you need to have a chat with someone, the folks at 1-800-SUICIDE ( would love to help you, and show you that there are so many people out there rooting for you!

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor terrified because of them , for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."

The above is the most real truth I know. God is, and if you let Him, He'll come in and give you a life you never thought you'd ever experience. I say this, not as someone seeking to force Jesus down your throat, but as someone who was bullied, and if it weren't for Him intervening in my life, bringing wonderful people into my life, giving me gifts, and most of all Himself, I have no idea where I would be. If you would like to chat more, please feel free to email me at noveldays {dot} com. 

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