Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Death, Mental Illness
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen 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, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Everyone is talking about this! First it was popular because of the book itself but now it’s become a Netflix series and is now incredibly popular and literally everyone I know is talking about it. Therefore as it’s been on my TBR for a while I figured why not jump on the hype and read it now while it’s popular?
In this story we follow Clay, a young lad who receives cassette tapes on his doorstep a few days after a girl at school committed suicide. We follow the story as he listens to the thirteen people who Hannah believes contributed to her death.
Reading the reviews on Goodreads people seem to either love it or hate it. I was leaning towards the hate it team. I completely understand that yes some of these people did deserve to be on the list and I can see how they contributed to her death. However the majority of the people on this list just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and I thought it was pretty cruel that they should be held responsible.
I understood the thought behind the story, people do need to understand that what they say can massively impact someone else’s life and that we should be more careful with what we say. However everyone at some point in their lives has been the subject of a rumour, it is just something that happens during high school, I definitely think Hannah overreacted and it just seemed a little childish. I’m sure there were other people she could have gone to so that she wouldn’t be on her own about it.
One of my biggest issues surrounding this book was about Clay (this section will contain a spoiler about his tape therefore if you don’t want to be spoiled then skip this paragraph). It really annoyed me that Clay was on the list, he literally did nothing wrong and yet Hannah had put him on the list because he was needed to tie up the names on the story (which I don’t think was necessary but still). Anyway Hannah was saying that she had nobody to turn to and nobody asked what was wrong…excuse me?! Clay literally did all of that, he sat with you even though he was terrified and let you talk to him! However you still added him to the tape because he didn’t talk to you sooner and you’d already made your mind up about the suicide! So in reality now Clay is probably going to have to spend the rest of his life in counselling because he waited just a little bit too long to speak to a girl (which is pretty much how all nice normal guys act), and then you complain when he left you alone even though you told him to stop and get out?! I think this was the part of the book where I just gave up to be honest, it looked to me like the author was just trying to incorporate Clay into the story and needed some ridiculously lame excuse to add him into the story.
Then there’s the ending, it was just so sudden! I wanted to know what Clay thought after hearing all the tapes, what he said to the others, how he dealt with what he had heard. I wanted to know how the others reacted, if they changed in any way after hearing how their actions affected Hannah.
I know the Netflix series has been renewed for a second series and although I haven’t watched the first series yet I’m hoping that the second series will be about how the people cope with what they have heard, how they are going to change their lives based on hearing how their actions have affected others.
So overall I have mixed feelings about this book, for the majority of the book I really liked hearing how the names were connected and how things did spiral out of control for Hannah. However for me some of the people mentioned I think their tapes were unnecessary, the reasons given were childish and although they may have been a big deal to Hannah I just feel as though they easily could have been sorted. My main issue is why didn’t she just post these tapes? Like put them on facebook or something, then at least some people would see the difficulties she was facing and may believe her. I just feel like suicide was a little too extreme.
Summing up: Pretty good but some reasons childish and easily sorted