Review – Thirteen Reasons Why

24 Apr

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher.  Razorbill, 2011.

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  • 159514188X  ISBN-13: 978-1595141880
  • YA fiction; mystery; teenagers; drama

The Plot

Clay Jensen, a high school student, arrives home one day to find a package waiting for him.  Inside the package are casette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his High school crush.  Hannah committed suicide the week before, and the tapes are her thirteen reasons why she ended her life.  As Clay listens to the first couple of tapes, he realises that Hannah has left a personal testimony detailing the people who influenced her decision…and that he may have been one of them.

Book Snitch says:

Th1rteen R3asons Why is a detective story of sorts, and Asher combines Clay’s thoughts with Hannah’s as the reader switches between hearing Hannah’s explanations and observing Clay’s reactions.  The plot is well constructed and there are many moments when Hannah surprises you with the information she reveals, some of which will resonate with many high school readers.  Asher develops tension as Clay listens to each tape which describes the people who influenced her tragic decisions and why.  You’ll be gripped as Hannah hints at many events which are only revealed in later tapes, drawing you in on the mystery trail with Clay.

The power of the novel is transmitted through Clay’s reactions and our underlying knowledge that it is too late for Hannah.  Though the premise may seem depressing, Asher is careful to make sure that there is education in Hannah’s story.

Who should read this?

A great YA read for teenagers aged twelve upwards.  Mystery fiction fans may also like this one.

Book Snitch comment for educators:

Th1rteen R3asons Why would make a great support text for a Homeroom program in high schools, providing plenty of content relating to health and social issues teenagers should be encouraged to communicate about.

5 stars


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