Book number 18: Thirteen Reasons Why by J. Asher. I saw this book on a best seller list but totally forgot about it until My Man comes home one weekend and hands me a copy (thank you, babe :)).
What it is: The book is a suicide note in an audiotape series passed from one person to the next, currently in the hands of Clay Jensen, and narrated by Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide, but not before recording a series of tapes which detailed her life and discussed the 13 reasons why she decided to swallow a bunch of pills to end it. Thirteen Reasons Why explores the challenges of being young, the importance of being sensitive to the needs of others, reaching out, and seizing the moment because you never know when it’s the last.
What I liked about it: There is much hype about Thirteen Reasons Why and an entire page in the front even lists all the awards received by the book. On the surface, it can easily be petty and irritating; the plot about a girl succumbing to high school, committing suicide, and eventually blaming others for it, but it goes beyond that to highlight the importance of how “everything affects everything” and call awareness on the significance of “how we treat others“. I particularly like the ending, I think that is spot on. 🙂
However, more than anything, I loved the technical aspect of Thirteen Reasons Why. The subject of the book is heavy – suicide and everything else that can drive a teenager insane – but the book is written in such breezy, straightforward, fast paced, and fluid manner that it doesn’t create the sensation that the sky is falling overhead, even if it does for the characters.
What I did not like about it: Either I don’t know the definition of suspense or this book simply does not fall into that category. Thirteen Reasons Why is not as heartbreaking and poignant as expected, and the emotions from the characters can use a little bit more digging to fully reach their height (like The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Everyone is stereotyped too so if you dig unique, quirky characters, don’t go near this one.
Recommended for: Teens, young adults, and emos. Of course, if you are having a hard time and considering suicide, go for The Happiness Project instead or maybe the memoir of Steve-O. Don’t go buying Thirteen Reasons Why thinking it’d lift your depression because it won’t, okay?