Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

I've been looking forward to reading "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher ever since I saw it on a list of teen must-reads sent out by Amazon. Using amazing self-control, I requested it from the library rather than buying it from Borders. So, finally, today it was my turn to borrow it from the library, and I ran (or, more accurately, speed walked) over to the library to get it. I started reading it, kept reading, then read it straight through. It's one of the most compelling books I've read in a while.

Here's the summary:
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 explains that there are thirteen reasons 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 first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself–-a truth he never wanted to face.
I'll admit that I've always had this morbid fascination with books about suicide. I just never can quite fathom why anyone would decide that life's not worth living, so reading about people who feel that way always fascinates me in a depressing way. But even if you don't share this morbid curiosity, I still recommend this book.

It's a quick read but not a light one (obviously). The writing style and storyline drew me in from the first and didn't let me go until I was done with it. And I love that the ending of the book, while leaving you thoughtful, doesn't leave you depressed.

The only issue I have with the book is the same issue I have with most books written by men with a female lead--I don't feel like he quite captured the experience of being a girl. But the author was obviously very sincere, so I'll give him points for that. And, really, most of the time he was pretty dang accurate. Maybe I'm just being picky.

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