Published by Razorbill on June 14th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Social Issues
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You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret. . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.
Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes-- and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town. . .
. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.
This book was a tragedy. There’s no two ways about that. When the book starts, the main character is already gone. She killed herself. All that’s left are the reasons behind it. The 13 Reasons Why, a baker’s dozen of reasons that explain why she made this terrible final decisions, in her own words. Hannah made cassette tapes, one side for every reason, to explain herself. Every reason is also a person who had something to do with Hannah’s decision. When Clay Jensen receives the tapes, he realizes that he is one of the 13 people who will get to hear Hannah’s last words because, according to her, he caused them.
This book was an easy read. The flow is beautiful. The chapters are cassette sides, one for every person/reason. The narrative switches between Hannah, on the tapes, and Clay’s thoughts in present time. Its easy to tell who is who because Hannah is in italics. However this book is also a terrible, difficult read due to the subject matter. Hannah is subjected to terrible bullying in the form of rumors and gossip. This book paints an ugly picture about how one rumor snowballs and can change the direction of a life.
Throughout the course of the book, from Hannah’s point of view, its easy to see how everything piles up on her. From her point of view, there are no other options. Nothing is ever going to get better. She’s completely lost. Hearing her story and her thoughts are so sad but also eye opening. Do any of us really know what’s going on inside of someone else? I don’t want to post any spoilers, but the straw that breaks the camels back for Hannah was number 13. It broke my heart.
This book doesn’t leave any hope for Hannah. At the very beginning she is already gone. However, her tapes and her legacy will live on. After hearing her tapes, everyone who listens is changed forever. I know I am. While Hannah might be gone, this book definitely makes me hope for the future.
Not the cheeriest of topic, but an important one. One worth reading.