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Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

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Language English
Contributor(s) Jay Asher
Binding Paperback
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Overview: Thirteen Reasons Why

Teenage is the period when you do lots of fun and commit lots of mistakes, but you do not regret it. What if someday when you come back home you find a set of cassettes from your ex-highschool flame, and all of them happen to be suicidal recordings? The protagonist of Thirteen Reasons Why faces the same but a little different and more shockingly weird situation. Written by Jay Asher, the young adult fiction novel has been a New York Times number one best-selling book. First published in 2007, the book was released in multiple countries all over the world.

Clay Jensen comes back home from school as usual, but on this day, he finds a mysterious box lying on his porch. He reads the name on it that happens to be his. Curious and excited, he opens the box and finds a set of several cassette tapes. Who could have sent such a gift to him? The secret reveals as he discovers that it is from his classmate and first crush, Hannah Baker, who has recently committed suicide. The only thing that Clay knows about her is that she has been emotionally damaged and eventually killed herself by taking a handful of pills.

As he listens to the tapes, the voice of Hannah explains of the thirteen reasons why she has committed suicide. One thing that takes him by surprise is Hannah's revelation that he has also played a major role in her life, and he is one of the thirteen reasons of her death.

The book is an intriguing tale with dual narratives; one each from the two main characters in the book. It opens up various aspects of what a teenage faces in life. Jay Asher is a California-born author and has published only one book till date. After graduating from college, he has written two children's book for the Children's Literature Appreciation class. You can order online the paperback edition published by Penguin UK with the ISBN-10: 0141328290 and ISBN-13: 978-0141328294.

Product Details
Language English
Publication Date August 6, 2009
Publisher Penguin UK
Contributor(s) Jay Asher
Binding Paperback
Edition 2009
Page Count 304
ISBN 10 0141328290
ISBN 13 8601404208522
Dimensions and Weight
Product Weight 204.1 grams
Product Dimensions 19.3 cm x 12.7 cm x 2 cm
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Customer Reviews on Thirteen Reasons Why

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Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Reviews
  1.  Dark and All Consuming. A Must Read 4 March, 2014 On
    “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’ll tell you this up front – Thirteen Reasons Why is dark and emotional, and deals with several heavy issues, few of which are taboo. Nevertheless, it is one of the best books around for young adults.

    Hannah’s reasons, when taken apart and examined individually do not seem all that worthy of suicide. However, when they are put together, they create a devastatingly real snowball effect, which in the end, mows Hannah down.

    Rumours, assault, betrayal, stalking and rape are few of the issues the book deals with. There is so much negativity, that after a point, you start suspecting every new character that props up. All that occurs in the book has become everyday instances in today's world, but when put together back-to-back, they pack quite a punch.

    It all starts from something as simple as a kiss. A rumour. “A rumour based on a kiss ruined a memory that I hoped would be special. A rumour based on a kiss started a reputation that other people believed in and reacted to. And sometimes, a rumour based on a kiss has a snowball effect. A rumour, based on a kiss, is just the beginning.”

    The author paints a lovely contrast, between Hannah’s false reputation, which starts in someone’ imagination, and Clay’s reputation, of a studious boy with an excellent image. Two very similar people, but one of them has a stellar reputation, while the other has a no-so-stellar one. Oh, the mysterious ways of the rumour mill.

    Hannah is not the depressing character that we would expect. She is very likable, with a sardonic sense of humour. She goes through some very horrible experiences that are bound to leave any person scarred for life. But that’s what I would expect – being scarred for life – not suicide. There are some reasons which I felt were unwarranted and simply a case of being oversensitive. For instance, Courtney Crimsen, one of Hannah’s reasons, is a girl who everyone thinks is a darling, but in truth is a fake who only cares about presenting the perfect image. That, I felt was taking it a bit too far. People, especially young people, can be immense self-serving jerks. We all know that.

    I think, after a point, Hannah became so depressed and psychologically messed up that she had her mind set on committing suicide and no longer wanted any help. It think that is how the snowball formed in the first place. She took all these actions too hard, and in her fragility, it pushed her over the edge. She, and in turn, we can almost precisely record her downward spiral.

    I used the word ‘fragile’, but Hannah is also weak. She sees totally wrong things happening around her, and does nothing to stop it. And there are times when she can so easily fight back, but she is simply passive and takes it. Even rape. Or should I say ‘consensual’ rape? Because she said not one word, did not one thing to stop it. It was almost like she was looking for reasons to justify suicide.

    But I will say one thing. Hannah owns up to her faults too. It was not simply a set of tapes in which she places blame. She accepts her part in taking the blame.This is not some impulsive decision, but well thought out and reasoned. She conscious of everything she is doing and its consequences. She admits that probably no one could have helped her. She says, “And that, more than anything else, is what this all comes down to. Me... giving up... on me.”

    Thirteen Resons Why is a thought provoking book that really drives home the message for the average reader. But I wonder if, for those with suicidal thoughts, does it not condone suicide?

    Thirteen Reason Why is an emotional roller coaster. The book puts you through an emotional wringer that gets you depressed, sad, thoughtful, angry, makes you cry, and, unexpectedly, even laugh! For such a complex subject, with its intricate reasoning, the author has done a remarkable job of keeping everything straight and not emotionally sluggish. With its face pace, and hard truths, Thirteen Reasons Why is a gritty, suspenseful thriller that I would recommend to anyone.
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