summary: When Clay got home from school he sees a package on his doorstep, inside of which are seven tapes. At first he’s excited, unsure what’s on them. But then he listens to the first one. It’s from Hannah Baker, a girl who a few weeks before committed suicide. And the tapes are her 13 reasons why. Each person who received them was on her list, one of those 13 reasons. And Clay? He’s one of them.
I do not recommend this book for anyone under the age of 13 or 14. There is rape, sex, alcohol, and, of course, suicide.
I absolutely love this book. I’m posting this after my second time reading it, and I just have to say that, while I didn’t have as much of an emotional pull since I already knew everything, it was still amazing, and I almost did cry the second time. Clay is just the sweetest character; the entire book I just wanted to hug him. And, that’s kind of surprising since he’s one of the reasons for a girl’s suicide, right? I’m not going to spoil anything here. That’s not my goal. So I won’t tell you all the reasons that Hannah commits suicide. If you want to find out you’ll have to read the book. But I will tell you that it made me think of all the little insignificant things. How something so small can mean something huge to another person. To Hannah, those little things meant everything.
What I really liked about this book, was the fact that, even though suicide is kind of a redundant plot line, it was pretty original. First of all, because of the whole snowball effect, how it wasn’t just one or two reasons why Hannah felt the need to kill herself, but a whole bunch of reasons, and of those reasons, she chose 13 (and it’s not lost on me that 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number; I don’t know if Jay Asher chose to do that or not, but still, it’s not lost on me) of them, and connected them all together. Everything was connected. The second thing that made it stand out was the fact that it wasn’t a suicide note. It wasn’t a diary. It wasn’t even a phone call. No, Hannah had to send out tapes, explaining everything. I thought that was creative and new, almost cool (except there’s really nothing cool about suicide). It put a new perspective on Clay’s pain. Because the entire book, we don’t lose his perspective. He narrates right alongside Hannah’s voice recording. And it is her voice, which, I thought, made it more personal than a simple suicide note. A suicide note can seem detached, or not as real, whereas hearing someone’s voice telling you how they’ve given up on their life? Yeah, I’d say that definitely made it more heartbreaking. Another thing Hannah did that made it more personal (and this was absolutely brilliant on Asher’s part) was include a map with the tapes. If the person listening chose to, they could go to the spots she indicated and see exactly where whatever was on that tape happened.
Overall, this is an amazing book. I definitely recommend reading it, even if you don’t handle sad books very well. It’s a beautiful story, and if you haven’t read it, I would pick it up right now and give it a try.