Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Shannon from Flight Into Fancy was just finishing up this book and I hadn't reviewed it yet (big surprise), so we decided to review it together! Below are my answers to her questions, but you can head over to her blog to read her answers to mine.

Clay Jensen’s first love records her last words.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package 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. Hannah’s voice explains that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself–a truth he never wanted to face.
What was your reaction to the book? I'm assuming you read the print copy, while I listened to the audio. Which would you have preferred?

I think I actually should have listened to the audio. The print version was effective, and I think got the point across, but because of the format of the events that played out I think the audio would have been a better experience. I might reread the book down the road and get the audio version that time. I just never think about getting the audio to books, so it never even occurred to me this time around. If the option is there, though, I would get the audio version. That being said, I still thought that she wrote a very good book version that still left you thinking in the end. It's a book that sticks with you, I think.

What did you think of the list itself? Was there anyone you don't think should have been on there?

It's hard for me to judge who should and should not have been on the list. It's not my list. I might look at one of the events that lead to the person being on the tape as minor, but to her it was a major thing. Unless you are experiencing the events for yourself, it is not really for you to judge how they should effect a person. Obviously, junior high and high school is difficult for most people, but not always for the same reasons. A lot of what is talked about on the tape, I can almost relate to from my high school days, but then other things are entirely out of my realm of real understanding because it didn't happen to me. In many cases Hannah Baker felt powerless and voiceless, but she has found a way to get that last word in. She might have made it so the same things don't happen to other young adults. It is really hard to say. It goes to show you that what may seem minor to you, though, can be a very major thing to someone else. People need to keep that in mind. Frankly, I am sure I need to keep that in mind.

Do you think the story would have worked as well if it had been told through someone else's POV, or do you think the narrator had to be Clay?

I think the narrator had to be Clay. He was such an effective narrator for the events of the book. He actually felt something for Hannah, while the other people on the list could really careless. Through him we got to know more than what the tape was showing, so that developed her character even more. Plus, I really felt for Clay. If anyone else was narrating I might have felt bad that they had to be dealt with in such an extreme way, but I also would have thought they deserved something for treating people so horribly. It wouldn't have been as effective. I mean, Clay was really agonizing over what he possibly could have done to Hannah. Then, when he finds out, you find out with him, and you really feel bad for the guy. Do I think it was fair he was on the tape? Maybe not, but I think he was the best choice for the narrator.


  1. I really enjoyed this book, and while I rarely listen to books on audio, I think I would enjoy this one even more that way.

  2. This book is on my wish list for a while. :)

  3. I loved this book when I read it earlier this year. I have to agree with what you said about Clay being on the tape, though. I don't think he really deserved to be on the tape, but he was such a perfect choice for narrator that I don't think it could have been any other way.

  4. I loved this book! So powerful and thought-provoking. It's one of my favourite reads this year!


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