Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So this one gets 5/5 stars--which, just so you know, I RARELY give to ANY book. Here are five reasons why I'm so blown away by Thirteen Reasons Why (as much as I'd love to give you 13 reasons, it would just take too long--though, with this book, I could SO do it).
The whole idea of telling a story in audio-tour format is just downright clever. Though at first it was confusing--I kept reading Hannah's passages in Clay's voice, and vice versa--I couldn't help but be intrigued by the idea of it. It felt so real, so possible.
I read the book in one day, and in pretty much one sitting, which is extremely rare for me. But it was just that important. I HAD to finish. HAD to know, most of all, what Clay's part in the story was. And the whole time I was just amazed that the story could be so tinglingly (word? if not, it should be) suspenseful, considering from the start Asher tells us what the outcome is. When an author can give you the ending on the very first page--heck, on the front cover flap--and STILL keep you flipping through pages at Mach 10--you know you're in the hands of a master storyteller.
Though the story is told from Clay's perspective, it was Hannah's voice I fell in love with first. After all, you're really getting both POV's. But about 3/4 of the way through, I fell just as much in love with Clay (don't want to give too much away here). Leading up to that point, I wasn't sure about him--I wanted to like him, but there was so much emphasis on Hannah I didn't feel too much connection with Clay until--oh, snap--I can't tell you that, in case you haven't read it. =Z ANYway, moving on... Back to Hannah. You love/hate her as a character. I dunno. Can't decide one way or another. Certainly pity her. But I'll let you read and decide what you think. But there's no denying the voice is SPOT on.
The subject matter Asher tackles--everything from suicide to rape--is heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that gets books banned from libraries. So my hat goes off to him for even going in this direction. I for one am completely against banning books, especially just because they deal with these kinds of issues. If anything, authors should STRIVE to address things like this, for the very reason I next address:
This is one of those books that changes how you see the world. And in YA fiction, I think too often it gets to be about thrills: romantic thrills, action thrills, the thrill of magic and violence and saving the world. Not gonna lie. I'm a sucker for those, too. But while those books are fun to read, and can indeed mean more to the reader than just pure escapism, reading would be a meaningless without books like Thirteen Reasons Why. Because it's RELEVANT. There are Hannahs and Clays and Jessicas and Bryces in each of our lives, and Asher's novel not only reminds us of that--it challenges us to DO SOMETHING about it. To, in the words of another fan, "be wonderful." To reach out, touch, change, help, and just listen to someone who is hurting. To simply care, when no one else will.
I better stop here, though I could probably go on all day about this book. It was exhilarating, beautiful, heartbreaking, and transforming. I cried. You will too.
And if you haven't yet...READ IT.
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