Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

          Sometimes the little things we do or lack to do have a big impact on someone else’s life. How would we know to what extent our actions have on others? The truth is we don’t know, unless we see their lives from their perspective. Hannah Baker, the new girl in town, was the victim of other people’s actions. From being voted “Best Ass in the Freshman Class” to her safe havens being broken, Hannah experiences a domino effect of events that lead her to develop Thirteen Reasons Why she committed suicide. Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s classmates and co-workers, endured her perspective and learned about her secrets through the tapes she left behind. Hannah only had two rules: “Rule number one—You Listen. Number two—You pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you” (8). Hannah wants all of the people that in some way affected her life in a negative way to know her story, to feel her pain, and to experience guilt for what they did to her. In the end you might ask yourself are they really at fault for her decision to take her own life?

          Author, Jay Asher, won the New York Times Bestseller, Barnes & Noble’s Top 10 Best for Teens, and Chicago Public Library Best Book for his debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why. This story takes you on a heart-felt journey through the eyes of a troubled teenage girl and a boy who secretly loved her. Not only does Asher give readers Hannah’s take on the events of her life, via cassette tapes, but we also get Clay’s commentary and evaluation of them. This novel deals with every day high school issues such as: acceptance, rumors, first times, drinking, sex, and potential outlets teenagers seek in order to cope with their problems. I like the fact that Asher provides his readers with a visual map on the book’s reverse sleeve displaying Cresmont and marking the places where Hannah experienced her difficult moments. As you read Hannah references the map and in your head you essentially get the chance to see what she saw. Overall, it is an enjoyable read that will have readers wanting to know more by the end of each chapter. You get the opportunity to perceive the story from both a girl and boy’s perspective. This way of writing is universal and makes the story more appealing to young adult readers.
            Th1rteen R3asons Why is currently being adapted into film version starring Selena Gomez as Hannah Baker. Here is what the movie poster will look like.


Nickolas Armstrong said...

Wow. This book seems pretty intense. I think that the subject matter is incredibly valuable and relevant to young adult readers. Suicide and its social influences are very real, and the more young adults understand about the "reasons" why it happens the better off they hopefully will be! Awesome book choice, awesome review, and so interesting that Selena Gomez will be featured in the movie adaption!

Sean Andrew said...


You wrote an amazing insight into the book. I had seen it while I was in high school and never had the chance to pick it up, but now with this review I just might. The topic of suicide prevention and awareness is close to my heart and from what it sounds like from your descriptions, this book could give insight for teachers and students alike.

Leslie Shambo said...

I was a little confused reading your review as to the role Clay Jensen plays, and whether he was one of the people who bullied Hannah, or had been asked to distribute all of the tapes she left behind. It sounds like an interesting book though, and I think a good read for high school students. I was just in a classroom the other day listening to a discussion on "social justice" in which one student said she would never stand up to someone she observed bullying another student because it would make her a target instead. To my surprise, ALL of the other students in the class agreed with her, and said they would not stand up to bullies. I think if students were asked to read a book like this one sounds to be, they might think twice about their decision to remain quiet, and might think about the impact that decision can have on another student's life.

I would certainly be interested in reading this book to see if it does indeed play out as I imagine, and whether it would be a good classroom tool.

Clarice Howard said...

This is in my top 5 favorite books of all time. I read this book at least once a year. I first read it when I was in 10th grade and I still love it as much as I did the first time. I recommend this book to everyone no matter what age!

I don't know about other high schools, but my high school had five suicides in three years. I cannot even describe how horrible it was to go through this. This impacted the whole school for a very long time.

I think that students need to read this book in high school as freshman. Students do not seem to understand that their actions and words can really affect other people and lead to things such as suicide. My favorite quote in the book is

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

I think this book has a lot of potential to teach students to be kinder and more aware of the things they say and do. Because how bad would you feel if you knew you contributed to the reason why someone committed suicide?

I think this book may be controversial because suicide is a sensitive subject and some parents may not want their students to read this. I think it is necessary for students to read this.

Laura Coyotl said...

I agree with everyone that suicide is not an easy topic to discuss. Usually when we are growing up during middle school and high school, we go through insecurities while trying to find ourselves. We also go through peer pressure and it is hard avoiding it because that puts us between the choice of having friends or no friends. This book will be great for middle school and high school students to read because they will be able to relate to the emotions that the character goes though, they will also know the reason why Hannah Baker decided to take her life. Which will give students an understanding of why the things we do, can have an influence on other people lives, whether they are good or bad actions.
This book sounds very interesting and will most likely call the attention of teenagers. I know it has called mine. I hope the movie is equally as good as the book.
How do you think teachers should approach students when it comes to discussing suicide?
You did a good book review.

Zia Nathan said...

This sounds like a really haunting book. I think it's interesting that the book revolves around Hannah who is now dead, but lives through these tapes that she leaves behind. I think it is important for young adults to read books about suicide, bullying and spreading rumors because it shows them the repercussions of the things they say could have.

Tess said...

I read this book in high school and loved it! I cried almost the whole time while reading it, but it was worth all the tears haha! Great summary, and I recommend this book to everyone too. Like Clarice mentioned, my school also had several cases of suicide and attempted suicide. It was devastating. This book can be relatable for so many people- Young adults and more!

maria hernandez said...

I read this book and it was an intense reading. You did a great job in summarizing the story. Good information about the movie I cant wait to see it.