Friday, October 26, 2007

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

As I said in my previous post, I got this book because of DC's review even if I'm not a fan of Young Adult books. However, this one was really worth reading and I think very powerful.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
published by Penguin Young Reader Group in October 2007

Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 13 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, hell find out how he made the list.
This is not the typical novel that I read where two persons meet, fall in love and end up happy ever after. This is the story of a teenager who committed suicide and left a series of tapes to people who were involved in her life and contributed to her decision. Clay, the main character, wondered why she did it? Why did she leave these tapes behind? And I think that she wanted people to care... they didn't while she was alive, but I think that she hoped they finally would once she wasn't alive anymore.

I think that for a first novel, M. Asher really wrote something powerful and insightful. Just like DC, I was completely sucked in the book and could not put it down. We follow Clay's emotional journey as he listens all these tapes in one night. Right, only one night... so basically, this novel tells a story that is in the past and it doesn't go beyond that very much, but it's really a great book. I think that M. Asher captured high school life very well... which got me thinking... you know when kids are done with elementary school and they're ready to take their next step. They are usually so excited to go to high school... however, high school is actually scary. Really scary and it's so easy for everything in your world to go so wrong, just like it did for Hannah.

This novel doesn't preach, but it makes the readers think... and I think it captures the way teenagers think very well. I have no complaints about this book at all, except perhaps one thing... How old are they? The author says senior, junior and freshman... but because of where I've been to school (i.e. Quebec province), I'm really not familiar with these terms so I don't know what age correspond to them. But as I said, aside from it, I think this is a very good novel and I was so very sad for Hannah.

Grade: A


  1. Sounds like an interesting book.

    In answer to your question about the ages, if the book was set in the U.S., the class naming convention goes something like this (as compared to Ontario, which is the only Canadian secondary system I know)

    Grade 9 = Freshman
    Grade 10 = Sophomore
    Grade 11 = Junior
    Grade 12 = Senior

    Hope that helps. :)

  2. Sula - Hey Sula :D

    thanks a lot, it does help :D I know someone has explain it to me already, but I never, never remember :P By the way, to answer your question in a previous comment, I am francophone :P

  3. Wow. It sounds VERY interesting.
    I just checked my library and I am number 2 on the reading list for when it comes in. It's on order right now.

  4. I thought I'd commented on your book haul yesterday. Don't know where that comment went. Of course my headache may have had something to do with that.

    ANYWAY...I'm very impressed with the number of books you got. I'd probably have anxiety over how I was going to get them all read. While this one sounds very good I'm a little wary of trying it because of the ages of the kids in the books and my own kids.

    If it's as realistic as you say it might knock me for a loop.

  5. Ah oui? T’es francophone ? Chouette ! J’espère que je ne t’ai pas insulté quand j’ai dit que l’accent québécois m’amuse. ;) En réalité, mon accent est le plus bizarre parce que je suis blanche mais je parle comme une africaine. Lol.

    I could only HOPE to be able to understand and enjoy a romance novel in French, so I take my hat off to you. *g* Hmm, romance novels in French...where would one find them? *off to to search*

  6. Wow, this sounds heartbreaking ~ and I'm just in the mood where I think I need to read this. I'll have to check the library to see if they have it!

  7. Chantal - I hope you get to read it soon :D it is really good :D

    Rosie - I think you commented on the previous post where i said I bought a lot of books LOL :) and LOL, I'm at a point where I don't really care how big my TBR pile gets :P

    I think you're right though... I think you'd like to read this later, once Schmoo and Beanie Boy are out of the house and you don'T have to worry about them.

    Sula- eh oui, je parle français. et t'inquiète pas, ça ne m'a pas insulté quand tu as dit que les québécois ont un drôle d'accent. C'est tout à fait vrai. LOL, j'aimerais bien t'entendre parler :P

    Well most romance books I used to read in French were translation anyway, so I think that I was loosing a lot out on the feelings. Also, the flow is totally different in French because of the passé simple et passé composé... so I just prefer to read in English nowadays.

    Dev - I think it's a very nice change of pace from what we're reading... also, the fact that Hannah is already dead, that changes the dynamics of the book. So very interesting :P

  8. Woo hoo my copy finally came in from the library! Can't wait to start it....after I finish Devil in Winter and join in The Rumble...;)

  9. Mollie - Hey Mollie! I'm happy your copy finally arrived! I hope you're going to enjoy it as much as I did :D