Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 10/10

Posted on September 8, 2015 by phoebewalsh11

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, is a collection of stories recorded on cassette tapes. They detail thirteen specific events experienced by a young high school girl, which led to the decision to take her own life. The accumulation of overwhelming experiences throughout the tapes is narrated by the high school girl, whose name is Hannah Baker. However, the reader hears the recordings through the eyes of a boy who has received the tapes himself. The tapes take the boy on a journey throughout the town, and with each stop he uncovers more detail about the secrets of the young girl’s last days. With each new character mentioned and new place stopped throughout the thirteen stories, Asher develops a deeply intriguing path following the thoughts and people of Hannah Baker’s life.

Jay Asher wrote this particular novel in an irregular format. There are no chapters; instead the book is divided into thirteen sections, each one speaking explicitly about one of the stories of Hannah’s life. Throughout the book, these thirteen stories are told from two points of view. Each tape is written exactly how anyone listening directly to the tapes would hear from Hannah’s voice. Yet also, almost everything she says is commented on by the main narrator who is the boy listening to the tapes. Asher writes using the tools of foreshadowing and flashbacks consistently throughout Thirteen Reasons Why, adding extra suspense to the plot line.

The concept of suicide within itself is hard to conceive. The ceremonial way in which this novel was written would only be understood by those with a certain maturity and appreciation for the topic of death. Therefore, I recommend Asher’s novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, to those who attain this development, readers within the general age group of teenage to adulthood.

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