Sunday, 27 October 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- Review

I got this book for my birthday after asking for it because I'd seen it in the bookshop and wanted it straight away. The blurb (hahaha) made me want to read it there and then, and it seemed different to any storyline I had read or heard of before. I hate to say it however, that I didn't enjoy the story half as much as I expected to. Not that it was bad, just slightly disappointing. You could argue that that was because in my mind, I had set  it on a pedestal up there with my favourites, so maybe it was doomed for failure.
The book is, I guess, mainly about a girl called Hannah, except you don't get to ever meet her personally because she committed suicide. Before doing so, she recorded some tapes giving 13 reasons why she committed suicide, and sent them to the people involved in these 13 reasons. What is unique about this book is that it takes place over just one night, which I thought was quite good. You read from Clay Jensen's point of view: from the moment he opens the package with the tapes in, to the moment the 13th tape is finished. You find out how he fits into the puzzle that was Hannah Baker's life and how others shaped her into becoming fed up with her life.
The plot, I thought was genius and I immediately started reading but hit a wall when I realised I just wasn't getting into the book.  I can't really decide exactly why, but I have a few reasons that maybe, when combined, just don't really equal a perfect story for me personally. Firstly, I think a lot of it was down to the fact that you never properly get introduced to the characters. This is completely personal because some people might prefer not to get a description of the characters, however I really love to be able to know everything about every person in a story. I never found out whether Clay Jensen gets on better with his mum or dad, or if Hannah Baker liked the gherkins in her McDonald's cheeseburger. And that, for me is earth shattering information.
Or perhaps I didn't enjoy the story so much because of the way it was written. I can't really explain what it was about it that I didn't really like, but maybe I'm just strange and very particular with style of writing. But... I think the main reason was because I didn't like the reasons that were given for Hannah to commit suicide. I just felt that the reasons were really minute. I understand that suicide can be caused by very small things which all add up and I am not trying to sound insensitive, but for a story I just thought that something drastic needed to happen. There was no shocking moment, nothing that would make me want to recommend this to the whole solar system, and nothing that was really exciting.
Overall, I would recommend that if you still want to read 13 Reasons Why, before you buy it, you could go onto the amazon link below and click on the 'look inside' feature just to see if the style of writing is for you. It is £5.24 new from Amazon and the same price in WHSmith

I would recommend this book to 13-16 year olds because I'm not sure if adults would like it very much.
The book has been made into a film, which I found out about the other day, so if anyone has seen it, let me know. :)
Jay Asher has also written The Future of Us.

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