Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill, an imprint of the Penguin Group (2007)
Genre: young adult, mainstream fiction, suspense

In Their 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 Hanna Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice tells him 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.

In Mine:
When you start this book, be prepared to offer up the rest of your day. This is not a book to be read in short snippets, between having a life. This book will keep you occupied until you finish it.

The book is told in alternating narratives, slapped right on top of each other: Hannah’s, through the tapes, and Clays. The overlap, they comment on each other, and then twist around until the truth comes out. It’s an amazing read.

Design:
I’m kind of meh on the cover. It’s not bad, but it’s not as powerful as the story is, and it didn’t really draw me in. Without knowing what the book is about, it looks like it could just a fluffy teen romance. The title gives you some clue, but from across the room you wouldn’t guess.

The interior is interesting. It uses the symbols for pause, stop, play, etc, as part of the text. At first, it’s a bit distracting, until you realize that the symbols are actually part of the narrative, not just section breaks.

Hannah’s story is told in italics, and Clay’s in normal text, so it gets a bit confusing sometimes. However, you adapt to it pretty quickly, and I’m not sure how they could have done it better.

Final Rating:
5/5. Great voice, great suspense, really a wonderful read.

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About Lucy

If you want to get fancy, Lucy lives in Portland, OR, and has a MA in Writing/Book Publishing, with a focus on Young Adult Literature, and a heaping disregard for literary snobbishness (she was an English Major–she’s seen and spouted her fair share). She works as a social media marketer, and has dabbled in developmental editing as a freelancer.
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