Genres: Young Adult Fiction
Publication date: December 27th 2016
Format: hardcover, 352 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5
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.
This book follows Clay who gets tapes from Hannah, a girl who recently committed suicide from his class. Clay had a crush on Hannah and had several interactions with her. Hannah’s portion of the book is told through tapes and written in her own words in the book. Clay must listen to all thirteen tapes and then pass them onto the next person on the tapes. Each tape is dedicated to one person and how they affected Hannah and caused her to commit suicide.
I loved that we could get both Clay’s feelings as a friend and Hannah’s feelings in one book since both had different views. The author took his time to develop the two characters and bring them both to life. The views from the two characters also showed how not every person is going to view the same situation the same. I think it is important that not every event leading up to Hannah’s suicide was a major event in everyone’s lives, but the author did a great job building up the story. Hannah did a great job explaining how she felt and how it connected to the big picture.
The author did a great job creating Hannah in my mind. The emotions that Hannah was experiencing felt real and I felt came through in the book loud and clear.
The author did a great job taking a very challenging topic and making people talk about it. I liked how the author had Clay open-up to one character about what was going on and how he was feeling. I find that a challenging piece is finding the right person to talk to who will listen. I think this should be a book that a lot of people should read and talk about since suicide sometimes can be prevented. Not every scenario will play out like this, but it does make you think about your actions and words and how they affect others. Also, it makes you think who is reaching out to you for help.
My one complaint would be that I wish we got a little more out of Clay. A large portion of the book is dedicated to Hannah and the tapes, with Clay giving small tidbits here and there, but I wanted a little more out of him.
Also, I have not watched the Netflix series yet, but the trailer and the book seem vastly different. I am not sure how the series does play out on Netflix and can’t wait to watch it.
Also, I think it is key to remember when reading this is a work of fiction. That I would look at this book for calling attention to a difficult topic.
I would suggest this as a weekend read. I found it challenging to put the book down at times, but there were also moments I needed to walk away from it for a few moments. The book does give you a lot to think about.