Mrs. Foley's Reviews > Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
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Aug 04, 09

bookshelves: hickman
Read in July, 2009

From library record - High school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing seven cassette tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide, and spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

This is a Missouri Gateway Award nominee for 2009-2010. It is a harrowing book to read because of how much truth is in it. It would be a great book for classroom discussion on teen suicide, rumors, reputations, etc.

Review from School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—High school senior Clay Jensen receives seven audiotapes in the mail. They contain the story of why Hannah Baker, a girl he adored, committed suicide. Each side is devoted to a person in her life and a reason for her death. Clay also has a map of places featured on the recordings. He spends a torturous night listening and wandering, unearthing the depth and causes of Hannah's unhappiness. His torment is private—how did he hurt a girl he treasured from afar—and empathic—her hurts and betrayals tear him apart. Clay's pain is palpable and exquisitely drawn in gripping, casually poetic prose. The complex and soulful characters expose astoundingly rich and singularly teenage inner lives, with emotions as raw as cut wrists. The mood is more serious than somber, and Clay's thoughtful synthesis of Hannah's increasingly explosive narrative saves the novel from melodrama. In fact, Hannah's and Clay's narratives are woven together so seamlessly that the characters appear to converse naturally from opposite sides of mortality. Compounded, the tapes build the plot in increasingly tense increments—Hannah's story is a freight train of despair and suspense that picks up speed as it moves to her final undoing. Like the protagonist in John Green's Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005), Hannah is an animate ghost; Clay's bereaved voice bears witness to her tragedy. The episodic structure is nicely suited to reluctant readers, but the breakneck pace and dizzying emotion are the true source of this novel's irresistible readability at all levels.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Phil Overeem Reading it now, Mrs. Foley. Really, really good.


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