Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Th1rteen R3asons Why Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

When Clay Jenson first receives the unmarked package in the mail he is excited wondering what it is and thinking he might have received something interesting. When he opens it to discover the collection of cassette tapes, he is puzzled, wondering who would send a collection of seven audiotapes labeled 1-13 to him. When he puts the first tape into the cassette player, he discovers that they contain that story of a dead girl. The story of Hannah Baker who committed suicide two weeks before.

As Clay Jenson listens to Hannah’s last words he finds out things that will make his whole world turn upside down. Some secrets are meant to stay secrets, because when they are revealed they have the power to tear you apart.

I don’t know where to start with this book. I have read many really good books lately, but this one was outstanding. I remember reading a review for the book last year and thinking I needed to pick this one up, but I never got around to it until recently. I wish I had read it sooner. This book was fabulous.

I did listen to the audio format of this book, and felt that the format fit the style of the book. You are supposed to be listening to Hannah’s last words and her story, and by listening to the audio you feel like you are listening to her. In the book, Hannah’s words are italicized, but in the audio format we have a female narrator, Deborah Wiseman, being the voice of Hannah Baker. Likewise, Clay Jenson is voiced by Joel Johnstone.

Wiseman’s narration of Hannah is spot on. You can sense the anger in her voice and ultimately the helplessness and her circumstances overwhelm her. Joel Johnstone, does a good job voicing Clay’s confusion at getting the tapes, and his fondness for Hannah.

The story is remarkable no matter what format you choose. It demonstrates how little you can really know the people around you, and the secrets that they keep. This book was all about secrets, and how secrets can hurt you.

Highly recommended.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Obviously one the main characters of this story committed suicide, but the tapes are played to Clay after the fact.

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