I‘ve read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher before, but since Netflix are releasing a TV series, at the end of March, based on this book I thought that I’d read it again. This review is going to be spoiler free as I don’t want to spoil the TV series either.
Thirteen Reasons Why is about Hannah Baker, a girl who shocks her community by committing suicide. She leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes, and each of these cassette tapes is for a different person, and these thirteen people are the reason she killed herself.
The protagonist of this is Clay Jensen and the story is told from his point of view. One of the tapes is for him, and he doesn’t understand why, as he feels he’s never done anything wrong to her, and he actually liked her. Clay turned out to be my favourite part of the book. He’s very affected by Hannah’s suicide, and I found him to be very likeable and relatable.
Even though this book is different from my usual reads, I still enjoyed it. It’s really easy to read, and the plot is fast-paced and leaves you just wanting to go from chapter to chapter and find out more. It obviously has some dark themes, since it involves depression and suicide, so it’s probably not going to be a good book for someone who is triggered by those sort of things. Those sort of themes are dealt with quite well, but also quite bluntly and while the story ends with a glimmer of hope, I wouldn’t say it has a happy ending.
The only problem I had with this book was Hannah, herself, and I’ve seen quite a few readers have the same problem. She comes off as really bratty, unlikeable, and I didn’t sympathise with her at all. Her reasons for killing herself were things that teenagers at school deal with on a daily basis. I understand that the build up of all these things at once would have an affect on her, but her personality is just so terrible that while reading I just didn’t give a shit about her. Also, a majority of the book is build up to when Clay finally gets to the tape meant for him and the reasons why Hannah has included him on her list turned out to be really anticlimactic.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I read it pretty quickly and found parts of it were written really well. It was a little slow in some parts, but it does pick up. I did like that it ends with some form of hope, instead of just leaving every reader miserable at the end. Again, my only problem was Hannah. I just didn’t like her. Some readers did, some didn’t. I guess it just depends on the person. I would recommend giving this book a read if themes like depression and suicide aren’t too triggering for you. I’m also looking forward to the TV series when it comes out tomorrow! I’m looking forward to pointing out, “That wasn’t in the book!” every chance I get.
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Thanks for reading! If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think! Or if you’ve got any book recommendations I’d love to hear them!