Wednesday, 4 February 2009

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB FEB - Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: October 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: hardcover
Source: borrowed

You can't stop the future
You can't rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret to press play

Clay Jessen 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 Jay that his nam is on her tapes - and that he is, in some way, responsible for the 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.

On my profile I said I loved to read books and there were some I would dwell on for weeks or months because I couldn't get it out of my mind. Th1rteen R3asons Why was one of those. When my friend showed me this one, I knew it was going to leave me with an impact. And I was not disappointed.

Firstly, this book was very different. I know lots of authors have written about suicide, but Jay Asher had his very own way. He didn't tell the story in third point of view nor did he let his character bury her tragic secret into her journal. Instead, she recorded her last words and spread them around, making those who were one of the 13 reasons why she chose to end her life feel like she was step by step taking them along her death. That explained how I, a sucker for romance only, fell deeply in love with this book (and absolutely never fall out of it).

Second goes with the story line. It was just...awesome. Hannah's heartbreaking story went on without a flaw. Everything made perfect sense. It grew more thrilling page after page. Each side of every tape brought a different secret, only to be more shocking and unbelievable. On reading this book I had this dilemma: I wanted to stop because the story was so cruel and hurtful, yet I couldn't but crave to know what else those people did to pain poor Hannah. I guess that was what made the book. Jay took us for a ride of mixed emotions just like his male lead, Clay was excited when he received the package, then panic on playing first few steps, later doubtful and scared, and finally, lost in deep guilt and sorrow.

Clay's feelings for Hannah developed through the story in a way that I found interesting. The backflap said Hannah was Clay's first love but in the beginning it seemed to me that she was only a friend. Only after a few tapes did he himself confessed how he was into her, how shy and hesitant he was to make a move and how he hated himself for not trying harder to to help Hannah out. It was great because that matched with the book's rhythm. Things started at a certain stage and they logically grew stronger and deeper.

I really hated the people who was in Hannah's tapes, disgusted to be exact. There aren't enough bad words to describe them, those who unawarely ruined a girl's beautiful life. Then again, I loved them because they were so real. And more importantly they made not only Clay but all the readers realize how we effect people's life. Sometimes what we think isn't worth making a fuss over is what makes an impact on others. A fault we blame on someone to make ourself feel better, a rumor we spread just for fun, a stupid list we consider harmless, a time being fake and mean, a few thoughtless words, all could turn a person's life upside down. The book also taught us one thing: if we do care for someone, try our best to protect and help them. Because, simply, we don't want to end up like once half-hearted Clay.

The last thing I want to mention is the ending. It was very touching, especially the part when the last tape ended and Hannah whispered "Thank You" (Seriously, I was on the verge of crying). Besides, even though it was really sad, the book didn't leave us in pain, on the contrary, gave us hope in a better world after Hannah's death. We could close Thirteen Reasons Why with a smile after a lot of crying because we knew Skye would not be a second Hannah, all thanks to Clay.

So...what more can I say? If you don't read this book, it's your loss!

Rating: 5/5

Did you know? The lead female was originally named Anna Baker, but Jay discovered many other stories dealing with suicidal characters named Anna, so he changed it to Hannah. And because a baker's dozen is thirteen, there were 13 parts of the story.


Diana Dang said...

A great review, I think I may pick it up. My friend read it for a school project last semester but I didn't know what it was really about.

Bee said...

This sounds like a really clever, thoughtful book. My teenaged daughter would love it, I think. THANKS!

the epic rat said...

Wow, that is an intense review, Thao - which is fitting because that is how the book sounds like it will be! People can be so mean! If only they knew the power of their meanness and what tragedy it can bring... :(


Barrie said...

Love the little tidbits about Anna becoming Hannah and the baker's dozen. Great review!

D.A. Riser said...

Hi Thao. I enjoyed your book review. I felt like I was already being sucked into the book. Excellent work!

sarah said...

I read this book a couple months ago and it was AMAZING! great review by the way!