Date finished: Friday 3rd February 2017
First time reading?: Yes
From Goodreads: “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. ”
Again, I sunk my teeth into a gritty subject matter. My colleague who always asks what I’m reading keeps telling me to read something with a slightly cheerier subject. The main reason I went ahead and read this one was because I’d seen a small teaser trailer for a Netflix TV series that was going to be based on it (link here for teaser footage at bottom of page) coming out this year. I’d heard some generally favourable comments on my Twitter timeline so thought I’d check it out before the series was live and ready to watch on Netflix.
My main gripe before I even started reading was that the concept seemed a little odd. To me, it seemed a bit of an elaborate scheme to go to the effort to record all these tapes and send them to people telling them they’re the reason you were committing suicide. That is the only negative I wound up with for the whole book.
The novel was executed expertly: the narrative flowing between Hannah’s voice on the tapes and Clay’s reactions in real time made for a pretty emotional punch, and made the whole thing feel that bit more as though it actually happened. It was a wonderful analytic to the small things that build up and snowball into making teens feel that this is the only way out for them. I think just having Hannah’s narrative followed by Clay’s response to the tapes would have made us feel less empathetic towards him and the journey he goes on, and you do truly feel for him by the end of the novel.
Recommending this book to others should be approached with caution however; I do not feel it is appropriate reading for any teens who are having difficulties or experiencing depression and obviously it could be incredibly triggering to those who have had to deal with similar circumstances in the past. That said though, while not a book to read over and over again, it is definitely a well thought out and well written book, and well worth the read.
My rating 8/10