Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a whirlwind, full of emotion, along with a cast full of terrific characters. It pulled me in from the very beginning. If you know me, you know that I absolutely cannot resist a sad story, a sad song, or even a sad movie. The more they make me cry, the better I'll feel at the end. Because it actually says something. It's not meaningless fluff, and you'll know when you're finished that you truly got something out of it. It was truly worth it.
Hannah's story is exactly that. It's amazingly sad, but you know when you're done that it was worth it. It was worth it, just to know why she did it. What her 'Thirteen Reasons Why' were. Why she never truly thought that she belonged. And that sad part is, that through Clay's eyes, she was amazing. But she never knew it. So many things went wrong in her life, and they all just added and added to the catalyst. The real reason why.
Even though we never really get to see Hannah alive (her point of view is told through tapes, made before she died. Her suicide note, if you will.), she is so amazingly developed that I had a hard time believing that she was dead. A lot of authors don't pull out all the stops when writing a character, but Jay Asher definitely did. I had no problem believing that Hannah was real, or that she had killed herself. She was that kind of character, and I really, really wish that she hadn't been a suicide. I would've loved to have read a story about a happy Hannah, but maybe she wouldn't have been as great happy.
Maybe what makes her so great is her heart-breaking story, and the lengths she goes through to tell it. Maybe she would've been mediocre without it.
I hope not. But it's always a possibility. You've heard me sing Hannah's praises enough. Now you need to hear about Clay. Clay is everything that Hannah is not. He's a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. No one ever has anything bad to say about him, because he's simply a good guy. And when he's listening to the tapes, you feel him. You feel his agony, right in your heart, pulsing to get out. He doesn't know why he's on the tapes. And neither do you, until you truly read. You'll be surprised, because he has the best story of all.
Overall, I cannot sing enough praises about Thirteen Reasons Why, so I'll stop now, before I get too carried away.