Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published: Oct 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 288
Copy Provided by:
Summary: Goodreads

Jay Asher's brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative -- alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening -- this honest, poignant story reveals how other people's actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual's faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.

This is Jay Asher's debut novel and it has been on my TBR list for about a year now.  Most of librarians at our branch have read and loved it.  I'm going to have to jump on that bandwagon myself. 

Mr. Asher takes us on an incredible journey through the voices of Hannah and Clay.  Hannah has gone and Clay remains but he is left to put the pieces of Hannah's life back together as it began to unravel.  This story is about truth, lies and consequences.  The right road is not always the easiest and Thirteen Reasons Why demonstrates how your actions (or inaction) can create a snowball effect in someone's life.   (Have you seen the Fringe episode that started with catching fireflies?) The underlying lesson in this book is be be aware and act on what you feel is right as well as speak up when you think something is wrong.

Personally, I found this book to be emotionally taxing but well worth the tissue invested as I bawled like a baby, hearing Hannah's story.  Jay Asher did an incredible job of narrating from both a male and female POV.  Curlypow thinks this title should be a requirement of all high schools and I tend to agree.  I wonder how many teens would be affected by this story.  How many people would take a good hard look at how they treat their peers?  If you like something that is gritty and moving and will make you cry, read this.  You might also want to consider Jennifer Brown's Hate List as well.  Both are ISU worthy.

What's up next for Jay Asher? I caught wind of some book gossip that he will be working with Carolyn Mackler on a new book entitled The Future of Us due in November 2011.  Can't wait!


  1. I have this on my TBR pile, but I haven't read it yet! I may have to read it soon though, it sounds awesome and your review is great! :)
    PS, what does ISU mean? ;) I have no idea... :L

  2. Hi Bella, Christinabean and I forget sometimes that not everyone knows what an ISU is - perhaps it's just a Canadian thing? It stands for Independent Study Unit - which is something our high school kids get each sememster when they have to study a book for English. There are many different criteria for these units depending on which grade you are in, but if we read something that we think might qualify for an ISU read, we like to let our Canadian readers know about it. Sometimes it's not all that obvious from the blurbs that books are suitable.

  3. Definitely will read it. Just like Hate List this book shows so many things that are important in our lives, things that we tend to ignore and brush off.