To be honest with you, I only bought this book because of all the hype the show was creating before it was released on Netflix. That being said, the book did not disappoint.
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.
If you have already seen the Netflix Original show, the only differences between the book are: Hannah’s parent’s involvement, the lawsuit, and how long it took Clay to finish the tapes.
If you haven’t, disregard everything I just said. This is a type of novel every young adult or parent should read. Yes it does deal with difficult topics like bullying, suicide and rape, but the main point of the novel is to show us readers that every action does have a consequence. It also shows us that a person can appear to be fine but there are so many things going on in their minds that we can never really know how they’re feeling.
I don’t think the novel fully captured what the people that caused Hannah to feel that way were going through. I’m sure they behaved a certain way because there were other factors.
As a young woman, just a few years out of high school, this novel was particularly difficult because yes there were two rapes that transpired during the novel. That was hard to come to terms with because that happens so frequently yet is under reported for fear of being blamed and even worse shamed for something that isn’t their fault.
Jay Asher created various situations that could occur at any given moment, in any city, in real life. While it is a fiction novel, it is very realistic in these situations. We hear about an accident caused by a drunk driver all the time. We sometimes participate in the ostracizing of a classmate and don’t realize that what we’re doing is wrong.
All this being said, I also don’t think that Hannah placing the blame on those twelve people was by any way okay. She was isolated and had no support. She also had a condition that does affect thousands of people every day: depression. For anyone to say otherwise doesn’t understand it. The counselor and teachers, as much as they try to help, often don’t recognize the signs or are improperly trained to help someone in these situations.
It isn’t really a novel that is easy to get through. It’s very dark and the themes are very adult-like, but I feel that young people, particularly middle schoolers and high schoolers, show read this and have real conversations with their parents about what is going on in their lives.
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