Publication: December 27th 2016 by Razorbill (first published October 18th 2007)
You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
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 tells him that there are thirteen reasons why 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 firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
I have mixed feelings about Thirteen Reasons Why. I liked it and flew through it but I also had a lot of problems with it. It is definitely a book that's is very different to what I usually read.
One of the things I liked was this message of how our actions can have a huge impact on someone's life without us realising and that we should be more aware of how we act. Something insignificant to us might be huge for someone else. This is a pretty obvious thing but not something I've come across being addressed in books and not something we think about a lot. I don't think the author went about portraying this idea by blaming characters actions for Hannah's death the right way but the messages did get across.
Another thing I liked was how captivated I was by the story. While I didn't care for the characters that much I couldn't stop reading. I had to know what pushed Hannah over the edge and how all the characters were connected to her and how Clay was somehow tangled into it too. I flew through it in a few sittings.
Depression and suicide are a huge part of the story and as someone who hasn't suffered from depression I can't say if it was an accurate representation or not. From reading other reviews it looks like some people are extremely pleased with the representation and say it's very accurate while others say the story glamorised mental illness so keep that in mind if you are thinking of picking the book up.
Obviously dealing with serious topics like suicided there is going to be problematic stuff tied to the story. The thing that stood out most to me was there was absolutely no mention how those suffering from a mental illness can get help. There was no discussion about positive mental health and suicide prevention which was disappointing considering how the topic of suicide is the backbone of the story. It was a shame the author didn't address it as it was the perfect story to say something on the matter.
I felt like the characterisation was weak. Because we are trying to get through all the tapes in such a quick amount of time we only get tiny glimpses of the people who Hannah is talking about. To be honest I can't even remember their names; none of them were developed at all. They were all very flat.
I also had a problem with the main characters. I couldn't connect with Hannah or Clay at all. I felt like Hannah was a bit over the top and super judgemental, I had nothing in common with her. And Clay was just an average guy-nothing special about him to make me care.
That being said I was still engaged the whole time reading though. It's a compelling story for sure but has it's problems. I haven't seen the Netflix show and to be honest probably won't ever watch it. Overall the book was meh for me.
My rating: 3 stars
Thanks for reading,