Publisher: Listening LibraryGenre: young adult
Pages: audio (5 disks)
Challenges: New author challenge, Young Adult, audio
My rating: 5/5
Mixing it up a bit, instead of giving my own description I'm just going to paste the synopsis from the book's website:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box 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. 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.
I absolutely loved this book. From the very beginning you are sucked into the story of Hannah and why she committed suicide. You are sucked in wanting to know how Clay fits in, because you can tell that he seems to be a decent guy. This is a very different take on suicide and I think it's a very interesting one.
While at times it was hard to listen to this one because, hey, it might have been awhile ago but I was once a teenager in highschool and I did suffer from depression. I would be lying if I said I never thought about suicide. I also had a friend commit suicide the year after I graduated highschool. So listening to a story like this sometimes hits a little close to home. Sure, the reasons were different, but the topic itself is just a bit hard.
I think it was interesting to see how all the actions combined led up to Hannah taking the route she did. One incident by itself wasn't enough and most would just pass off, but all of them, yeah, it gets to a person. So the story being told like it is and showing all that makes it more powerful.
I personally would love to see this book read in English classes because I think teenagers could benefit from it. I think it would be an eye-opener for them and show them that actions have consequences It might seem like what you do/did/plan to do is harmless but chances are it's not. In my opinion, this is a very powerful book.
The audio version of this book was narrated by Debra Wiseman and Joel Johnstone. They did a fantastic job. This is, by far, one of the best audio books I've listened to. Since the book deals with tapes, Debra narrates the tapes since she's speaking Hannah's part. Joel does the rest of the book since it's told from Clay's point of view. Everything flows smoothly and I think having the two readers was a very smart move. I don't think it would have worked as well had there been just one narrator. This was one audio book that I didn't want to stop listening to.