Saturday, June 18, 2011

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Listening Library
Genre: young adult
Pages: audio (5 disks)
Challenges: New author challenge, Young Adult, audio
Author's Website 
My rating: 5/5

Simple Description: 
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.

 My Thoughts: 
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.

Audio Review: 
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. 


bermudaonion said...

I read this with my book club a while ago and I was kind of the odd man out. While I liked the book, I didn't love it like everyone else. I know Hannah's parents were busy with their business, but they totally ignored her, yet she didn't place any of the blame on them.

Kris said...

I noticed that too Bermudaonion - but it didn't really bother me since her issues had been with bullies and kids at school and not in her home life. Still..sucked to see that her parents didn't notice. But then..neither did mine when I was going through sever depression, so I know it happens.

Mari said...

I keep meaning to read this book! Thanks for a great review.

Kris said...

You're welcome Mari - hope you enjoy it when you read it. I'm actually reading an article in EW about this author and book. So far it's interesting..but haven't finished it yet.

BookAddict said...

Awesome book!

samantha.1020 said...

This is a book that I have wanted to read for some time now. It sounds so good even though it is about a more difficult subject. Great review!

Kris said...

I hope you like it when you get to it Samantha. I hate saying that I loved a book about suicide, but I really did.