“You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.”
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
TRIGGER WARNINGS for suicide, bullying, and rape. I would not read this book if you struggle with reading or talking about this topics. Asher does not explicitly go into detail about rape, but there are scenes that can be triggering. Also, this book is surround about a teenage suicide. It was hard for me to read, as well.
Overall, this book made me depressed. I know that comes with the territory, but I sped-read this book so as the “rip the bandaid off” as they say. Because as I know all too well, some books and topics affect my mood. They can influence my feelings and determine my kind of day. Books have that power over me, and the words within it can move me to one spectrum to another. I can understand now why my mom avoids these types of books; books that might be important to read, but ones that can affect you negatively. Yet, I think if you can talk about it or read it, suicide is a topic we should openly communicate. Someone in our lives might be conflicted as Hannah is. I think if there’s one thing we should take away from this book is that if we ignore the topic of suicide, then it can become reality for someone we know. Together, we are a community. We need to speak out when we see someone struggling, because one simple act can make all the difference. Anyway, that’s my big lecture for this book.
The topic itself is 5/5 stars, but the characters and plot are what made this book lose a star. Even though Hannah was bullied, it is a little hard to believe that the everyone at school (except for Clay) hurt her in some way. The bullying was realistic, yes, and I can imagine it happening to a high school girl, especially the sexual rumors. What was hard to believe, though, was the fact that ten (?) people did something that took something away from Hannah. Are kids really that cruel? Yes, they can be, but at one time? I’m not entirely sure. Now, I don’t want to diminish Hannah or anyone else’s story, but I have to be skeptical.
Now for Hannah’s character. We only “see” her through her tapes. I liked the format of the text, though. Both reading the recording and real-time created a momentous effect. I could not always properly grasp her character through these tapes, though. She seemed a bit flat. Clay was a little the same too. I wanted to know more about him. It didn’t seem like he had any close friends either, like Hannah, and sometimes I wondered if he was contemplating suicide too. Overall, I felt that their description didn’t give me enough.