Friday, March 16, 2012

Retro Friday Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Retro Friday is a meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc." 

It's been a while since I did a Retro Friday review, and I'm not going very far back, just five years, but it's still a great slightly older book :)

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: October 2007
Pages: 336
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun

When Clay receives a mysterious package in the mail, he definitely does not expect to hear from Hannah Baker. Hannah committed suicide a few weeks ago and Clay is shocked to find a set of tapes detailing the thirteen reasons why she made that choice. Clay will have to listen to every detail on these tapes to understand what part he played and what he could have done to save her.

Things I Liked:
This was a complicated and often depressing book.  It was also not what I expected.  I thought it would be entirely about how a person was bullied and ended her life because it was too much.  It was that, but it was more.  It was about the impact our actions and words have, the choices we make and how we respond to others.  Blame and trust and how much we are willing to go outside of where we are comfortable.  The cruel things teenagers say and do as well as the kind things.  It was better than I expected, but also worse.  An interesting book for certain, one that every teen should read.  It definitely lent itself well to audio, since the book is about Clay listening to the tapes Hannah left for him.  I think the dual narrators were very well done and I felt the emotions through their voices. 

Things I Didn't Like:
I was actually kind of annoyed at how heavy-handed it seemed for the first part of the book.  It was so obviously trying to teach us of the Impact Things We Say Has on Others!  Hannah repeated that over and over and I wished for a lot more subtelty.  It did get better later on, more complicated, less preachy, more realistic.  I think it is a well-done and important book for teens and adults alike, not to mention it has a lot of appeal for teens to.

Maybe a bit like before i fall by Lauren Oliver
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

s-factor: !@ 
plenty scattered throughout, no f-bombs though

mrg-factor: XX 
most of it is implied, but there are a few more descriptive parts

v-factor: -> 
not described, but there is a bit

Overall rating: **** 

How did you feel about this book?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Sadly I have yet to read this book even though everyone already has. I'm glad you liked it even if the message was a bit strong.

    Thanks for the great review.

    1. Hopefully you'll get to it soon! And I think the message got more subtle the more the book progressed too.

  2. I think the heavy handedness in this one would bother me too much. :(

    1. It really is only in the first part that I thought that. The second part kind of balances it out by showing more about Hannah herself and her choices.

  3. I really liked this audio a lot and agree with you that the some parts seems heavy handed.

    1. So glad I wasn't the only one who thought some of it was a bit overwhelming :)


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