Unique, powerful and bittersweet

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why‘ was an unforgettable, thought-provoking novel that took me inside the mind of a young teenage girl who had lost all hope.


This book had an edge to it that had me initially feeling that the girl who narrated on the tapes was selfish and sort of self-serving in her way for wanting to make others feel guilty for the fact that she had taken her own life. But as the story continued, my heart began to break for her. She was a girl who was just trying to fit in, only she drew the attention of the wrong people and that started a chain of events that would lead to her destruction.


The narrator of the book, Clay, was a character I connected with straight away. Even though he made mistakes, they were minor and unknowing ones. He was so likable with his sincerity in how he felt about things. The anxiety he felt at knowing that he was on a list that Hannah had listed as the reasons she had killed herself was just heart-breaking to read. Even more so when I read about Hannah and his relationship and what could have been. The range of emotions he felt over his actions as the novel went on made me cringe in sympathy.


There were so many cries for help in this book that were overlooked time and time again. I’ve heard of an expression that went along the lines of ‘rumors can kill’. This expression certainly played a pivotal role throughout the whole book. For those who have read this book, they will hopefully understand what I’ve meant by this – for those who haven’t, well, you’ll find out as you read it.


The writing style of this novel was brilliantly unique. I’ve never read a book where a person’s story was told in a series of taps and a map. There was this feeling that Hannah had planned everything down to the last detail. And added to the mix was Clay’s story as well. Just the way both narrators’ stories blended together was intriguing and had elements of near genius.


This is certainly a book that will make you think about it even days later. There’s that haunting feeling that the character you grew to love was not truly gone, but just … absent. Or they’re playing a joke on you and that any minute they’ll appear. But then you realize they won’t. And that’s the realism with this book. The part that hurts, because for anyone who’s lost a friend or family member to suicide, that’s the part you wish for – to see them again.


I don’t think there’s a person I wouldn’t recommend 13 Reasons Why to, but I would add that there is the possibility that, although the novel isn’t written in the hard-hitting way of some other books, the subject matter could be a triggering one.