Monday, March 14, 2011

Must Read Monday: TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher

If you're lucky, in life, you come across a few books that really get to you. By get to you, I don't mean that you cry or laugh when you're reading. I mean that even after you put it down the book stays with you. It gets you thinking of yourself in terms of the subject matter of the book. Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher is just that type of book. Beware this review is a tad on the long side and the subject matter is definitely serious.

I'll start by being perfectly honest, I picked this book up because I heard that Selena Gomez is going to be a part of the movie. I think she is such a great role model and I've loved Wizard's of Waverly Place for-ever! She is so funny in the role of Alex. That's why when I heard she was going to be a part of this movie I looked up the book and was beyond surprised that she would be involved in something so serious. Its not that I don't think she can do, in fact, I think this is the movie that might solidify her as a bonafide Hollywood actress and break her out of her "Alex" character's shadow.

When I first read the summary of the book I thought "There's no way that this is a young adult book! Why would people encourage kids to read about suicide?" I bought it anyway thinking if its a book meant for teens there will be some type of filter. I was totally wrong about that and I am so glad I was.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a book in which you know the ending at the beginning. The things you don't know are what led to the horrible outcome. The book is told from two different points of view,Clay's and Hannah's. Hannah is a high school girl who has committed suicide. Prior to killing herself, Hannah records the 13 reasons that led to her death and sends them to the people she feels are responsible for this tragedy. Clay is one of the people that receives the tapes. You are "listening" to the tapes at the same time as he is. The tapes are sent by Hannah to the first person and that person, after listening to the tapes, mails them out to the second person and so on. I will leave the summary of the story there because I don't want to give away any spoilers because I really think that this book needs to be read.

I finished the book in a few hours. If you pick it up I think you will too. I think the thing that struck me the most about this book is the fact that everyone can relate to it. If you are a teen, you can point out times in your life where you either did something seemingly harmless or you failed to stand up for someone being victimized. The thing about each of the events that led to Hannah's ultimate demise is that most of them seemed so simple in and of themselves but together they created what the author so perfectly calls "the snowball effect."  We've all heard the saying "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. "That is the most untrue saying ever uttered in  my opinion. Words hurt and they stick with a person long after they're said. That is the point Hannah is trying to make. There is no happy ending to her story but there is a very powerful message; her death could have been avoided.

The primary message I got from this book is best summed up in this quote: "No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same." In the end, we all play some part in the lives of the people that are around us whether we are aware of it or not. We need to realize this fact and feel accountable about what we say and do because our words may have bigger repercussions than we ever dreamed of.
Please know that there is help out there for people who have ever thought about suicide. You can get help by going to this site: or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?


  1. Sounds intriguing... need to pick it up... I have so many book on my to read list.. it's sad how I can hardly get to them!

  2. Definitely intriguing! This is definitely one that you won't be able to put down once you start it though.

    What other books are on your list?



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