Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why has become the new focus for teens and young adults in the last several months, most likely because of the controversial Netflix series. The author wastes no time jumping into the storyline and just by reading the first paragraph it’s obvious that something drastic or emotionally draining has taken place because Clay is explaining how tired he is, and also seems to be zoning out of reality. He’s at the post office mailing a mysterious shoe box that isn’t fully explained until the next chapter.

The next chapter dives into how Clay received the shoe box package and what’s inside; seven double-sided cassette tapes, each one holds another story, another stepping stone into the suicide of Hannah Baker. He also now understands, based on the note that was left inside with the tapes, every person that is on them has contributed to Hannah’s suicide and will receive them in chronological order. At that point, it becomes their responsibility to keep the game going and pass it on to the next person. The first instinct of anyone caught in this situation is to tell an adult to end the cycle however on Tape One, Hannah explains that she’s trusted another copy of the tapes with an unknown person and if somebody chooses to ruin the game by not passing them on, this person will leak the tapes in a much more aggressive and publicized way. Clay knows that since he’s gotten the tapes, he must have done something to dig Hannah’s hole deeper. The reasons he uncovers isn’t what he was expecting and sends him on an emotional roller coaster that he wasn’t prepared for.

To be honest, the plot had great potential but the execution was very disappointing. It wasn’t terrible but it felt like throughout the entire thing the same thing kept happening; the tapes were sent, received, the reaction was identical to the others and each time it was carried out longer and longer. I was really hoping for something revolutionary and monumental, or that feeling you get when you finish a great book. Sadly, I didn’t get that. However, this book (and the TV series) has changed many people’s lives and has turned them away from doing or thinking harmful to themselves so while it didn’t really leave me with a lasting impression it certainly did with others. – Maggie D.

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