Brittney Lopez/ The Paisano
“Thirteen Reasons Why”
Genre: YA Mystery
Author: Jay Asher
For Fans of:
“Looking for Alaska” by John Green
“Twisted” by Laurie Halse Anderson
“If I stay” by Gayle Forman
You just received a cassette from a classmate, but the only problem is that your classmate is dead. The book “Thirteen Reasons Why,” written by Jay Asher, is a young adult mystery novel about a high school student named Hannah Baker who commits suicide. The plot unfolds when Hannah sends a package filled with seven cassettes that recount what led to her suicide.
The novel follows narrator Clay Jensen’s accounts, who is the main character and one of the names on Hannah’s cassettes. One day when Clay arrives home from school, he finds a package addressed to his name. Once he places the tapes into the nearest working cassette player, he hears the voice of the girl who committed suicide two weeks prior. On the day she made up her mind to take her own life, Hannah sent the package to the people on her list.
There are only two rules to this so-called “game.” Each person that receives the package must listen to all seven cassettes and then pass them on to the next name on the list. Clay Jensen had a crush on Hannah Baker, yet he never expressed himself to her —because Hannah had a false reputation. Clay has to find the courage to listen to the cassettes and find out why he is on the list. The setting of the novel takes place 24 hours after Clay receives the first package. Once Clay realizes what the cassettes means, he leaves his house to roam around town in order find the place Hannah mentioned in her stories.
As Clay listens to the cassettes, the reader follows Hannah’s words and Clay’s thoughts. The story will keep readers intrigued late into the night and at the edge of their seats. The themes and ideas throughout the novel are demonstrative of real teen issues: teen suicide, drama and the failure of a friend. It is worthwhile because the incidents are relatable. The majority of the characters are realistic and understandable, except Clay—who is the least relatable character, due to Asher portraying him as the nicest and most innocent character of the novel.
Throughout the novel you will find creepy, crazy and courageous classmates. Hannah explains thoroughly why each character made the list. The novel intensifies progressively as Asher organizes Hannah’s list from the most important to the least important and lastly the most intriguing classmates on the list.
Although “Thirteen Reasons Why” is a bit depressing, Asher adds comic relief between the lines so the reader will not feel overwhelmed. Asher organizes the novel in a compelling way for readers to stay mesmerized throughout the cassettes. One page can be filled with negativity about one character, and the next page will have a backhanded remark made by Clay or Hannah.
Now, drop your iPhone and pick up a copy of “Thirteen Reasons Why.” Get ready to listen to Hannah unfolding the stories that led to her suicide.