Book Review: “Th1rteen R3asons Why” by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

Favorite Quote:

I guess that’s the point of it all.  No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people.  Oftentimes, we have no clue. 

What’s It About?

Clay comes home from school one day to find a box addressed to him on his doorstep.  Inside he discovers seven cassette tapes recorded by his former classmate and crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier.  On the tapes Hannah explains why she killed herself: there are thirteen reasons, and those who get the tapes are part of her story.  Fragile, confused, desperate, and broken, both Clay and Hannah seek answers to a similar question for different reasons: Why?

Why I Chose It:

Over the years I’ve witnessed TRW become a staple in the YA community, so I knew I would read it eventually.  I had high hopes, and they were not unmet.

Why I Liked It:

This is perhaps the best book I’ve read about personal responsibility.  As expressed in the above quote, no person knows how his actions or words will affect another; sometimes we don’t know how they will affect ourselves until it’s too late.  Hannah’s story is equal parts reflection and warning as she explains the events that led to her decision.

Would You Like It?

This is a clear winner for anti-bullying awareness and campaigns.  Similar reads include Cat Clarke’s Undone, Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me Leonard Peacock, Ellen Hopkins’ Impulse, and Carol Lynch Williams’ Glimpse.

Check It Out!