Thirteen Reasons Why is Jay Asher’s debut novel. He tells the story of Clay Jensen who receives a shoebox filled with cassette tapes. The tapes contain the voice of a former classmate who killed herself just two weeks earlier.
After school, Clay finds a package on his doorstep. Upon opening it, he discovers seven numbered tapes, stopping at thirteen. When listening to them, Clay hears the voice of Hannah Baker, his first love and former classmate. She explains that there are thirteen reasons, and thirteen people responsible for her suicide: one reason and one person per side.
As the evening turns to night, Clay wanders the streets visiting the places Hannah talks about, which are marked on a map with a big, red star. Trying to understand why. So many people play a part in Hannah’s suicide, so many people who have no idea.
The book is told through Clay and Hannah’s perspective, Hannah’s parts being in italics. Whenever Clay hits a button on the Walkman, the symbol on the button he pressed is pictured. This helps the structure of the story; since it can be difficult at times to keep up in whose perspective the story is told (the point of view changes every few lines).
I liked reading Thirteen Reasons Why, even though it took me quite a while to finish it. The changing perspectives had me confused every now and then. The story itself is very well written. It speaks about honesty, friendship, sexuality, and what that can do to a person. Jay’s raw way of writing is very inspiring and would be good for young people to read to create a sense of awareness.
I recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a real story, with real emotions and no sugarcoating. My copy counts 288 pages, so it is quite a quick read, but may contain some heavy content.
Hannah’s tapes are available for listening on http://hannahsreasons.blogspot.nl.
Published by Penguin Group in 2007