Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill Books
Publication date: October 18, 2007
Genre: Young Adult
Date read: December 22, 2017
My rating: ★★★★✩

“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.”

It’s been over ten years since this book was published, but I’d never read it before. Yes, I’d heard about it, of course, and I watched the tv series on Netflix (which I really liked!). Ever since I watched the tv show, this book has been on my TBR-list, but now I’ve finally read it. And let me tell you: I absolutely loved it!

Thirteen Reasons Why tells us the story about Hannah Baker – a girl who recently commented suicide. Clay Jensen had a secret crush on her, and now he’s heartbroken that she’s gone. Then, one day, he comes home to find a box with no return address on his porch. A box which contains seven cassette tapes – each tape has two sides, there are thirteen sides in total. He soon finds out that Hannah has recorded her last moments on these tapes. Every tape tells a story; a reason of why she killed herself.

The tapes come with rules. Clay must listen to each tape whilst following a map Hannah made – a map with the places of every event she tells. Hannah Baker wasn’t who Clay thought she was. Did he ever really know her? Did anyone ever really know her? And, worst of all, what part did he play in her suicide? As you read further, you’ll discover the reasons why Hannah committed suicide right alongside Clay.

The story starts really fast paced, with Clay listening to the first tape almost immediately. I just got the chills reading about Clay listening to Hannah (even though I had already seen the tv series and knew what awaited me). It was so intriguing, so well written, that I just couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to read more, to see who was next on the tapes, to hear what led to Hannah’s suicide.

“If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore.
But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

I don’t really cry that often reading a book. Really – I just don’t. But with this book… I was bawling my eyes out halfway through the story. All the emotions, all the feelings I got while reading this novel, it just reached my heart. I could imagine so well what Hannah was feeling, and what Clay was feeling whilst listening to the tapes of a dead girl he had loved.

Because I had already seen the tv series, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing them to each other. I’m still not sure which I find better, both were great in their own way. I liked that the novel really gives you an insight in what Clay is feeling and thinking, but with the tv series I really liked that it showed us the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide. It showed us how her parents life’s were affected and how everyone at school was dealing with her dead, which wasn’t the case with the book.

I read the deluxe tenth anniversary edition, which means that my edition also had the original/alternative ending Jay Asher wrote. At first, when I read this original ending, I was wondering why he didn’t choose for this ending instead, because I just wanted somewhat of a happy ending (those of you who read the original ending will know what I’m talking about). However, it’s been over a week since I finished reading this book – I’m only writing this review now because I needed time to think about it – and now I think the real ending is way better, and way more realistic.

If you haven’t read the book yet, I would definitely recommend it, but do keep in mind that it could be triggering. It deals with a lot of serious stuff, which I personally think need to be talked about a lot more. Lastly, if you need help and aren’t doing okay, please remember that there are people you can talk to. Talk to your parents, your friends, maybe a counsellor, because admitting that you need help – that you want to feel better – isn’t a bad thing. It’s never too late!

With love,
Charlotte

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