Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is 2007’s book for my 30 For 30 Readathon and I am so glad this came up. I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I watched the first season of the show.
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.
As mentioned above, I have watched season 1 of Thirteen Reasons Why, so to some extent, I knew what to expect.
However, this book did still surprise me, in the sense that the whole book just follows Clay listening to the tapes and him piecing the story of what happened to Hannah together. Whereas the programme pads this out, we follow all of the characters piecing the story together, blaming each other, becoming friends, becoming enemies, and generally feeling guilty about what has happened.
I really enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why (as much as you can enjoy a book of this topic) however, I am glad I watched the show first as I think it helped me to power through the book. There’s a possibility I may have gotten impatient otherwise and ended up DNF’ing the book.
I gave this book 4/5 stars and would recommend.
Note: there are triggers for suicide, depression and rape in this book.