Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher

Book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Genre: YA
For: Banned Books Week
From: Amazon (I think) years ago

It's been a long time that I've wanted to read this book. And now, finally, for Banned Books Week (which actually starts next week, but is being celebrated this week by Sheila from Book Journey) I had that chance!

Yes, next week is Banned Books Week, and you know what that means. It means we all jump on the BANNED Wagon and sing the praises of books that for some reason or another have been challenged or banned from schools or libraries or other such places. But mostly we shout for joy for the very freedom we have to read, and to read whatever we want. It's an awesome freedom and one we should never take for granted.

This book, Thirteen Reason Why, has been challenged (not sure if anybody actually banned it) because it deals with many many tough subjects. The biggest one, suicide. I guess some people believe that we shouldn't read about tough subjects. And because of our freedoms, they don't have to, but some of us figure we can learn by reading about such things. And therefore learn how to better our lives in some way.

The thing I learned from this book, and the thing I think all teenagers should learn if they do read this book, is please please please talk to other kids. Be their friend. Don't judge. Don't believe rumors. Be nice to each other. Respect each other. If you have a feeling that you are needed by someone, act on it. Don't ignore the gut or the heart telling you what you should do.

Yeah, good things to learn from a book about a hard thing.

Most of you have probably already read this one, but just in case, it's about a girl who commits suicide. Before she goes, she leaves a set of tapes telling her reasons why... detailing the line up of events that caused her to feel hopeless. Each of these tapes are addressed to different people she had contact with who influenced this decision in some way. When the main boy in the book gets them, he is devastated. So we follow him through the listening of all the tapes, going back and forth from the girl telling her story, to him dealing with it. It was a very interesting writing device to use, and one that took me awhile to get used to. It was two first person points of view and I had to really concentrate to remember who was doing the talking at the time. (Italics were used to help us, but it still gave me a bit of reader whiplash!)

Anyway, the story is a sad one. I felt mostly for the boy who wished so bad he could go back in time and help this girl. The girl, I think she gave up way way too quickly and she made me mad because of that. There were people in her life she could turn to and she just didn't. This boy being one of them. So yeah, it was kind of weird being mad at her, but that's just how I felt!

Bottom line: I'm finally glad to have read this powerful book that makes an important statement... look out for each other and be friends!

Other Reviews:

I do not agree with the hype. The book is stupidly written, and will bore adults (unless they think like fifteen year olds). From Rivers I Have Known

Read this book, it just might change your life, too. It might make you think about your daily actions in a new way. From Dear Author

Asher does an amazing job of grabbing the reader from the opening line and not letting go ~ ever. I highly recommend this novel to every teenager, parent, teacher, or anyone else who works with teens. From The Novel Life

We need to teach kids that they can overcome anything. We need to empower them to face and solve their problems, not give up and run away. From The Literate Mother


  1. I was looking at a list of books that have banned and so many books I love were on it, it did make me extremely grateful for the freedom to read whatever anything and everything I like :)

  2. Loved this book Suey! Thanks for posting about it for banned book week!

  3. I haven't read this and only heard of it in conjunction with banned books week, but I think I'll probably check it out now :-) Great post!

  4. When I read this book, I said that I thought all teenagers should read it because it shows that you can't be a total jackwagon and then expect the consequences of your jackwagonnery to just stop where you think they should stop.

    One of my male friends replied that the girl who died was a spineless, manipulative, whiner-victim and that the book should be binned.

    It was an interesting contrast.



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