It is about four hours into the readathon, and I have just finished my first book: ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher.
‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ is about a boy called Clay who finds a package on his doorstep a few weeks after the death of his first love – Hannah Baker. Within the package is a number of cassettes, with Hannah’s voice explaining that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself and that those who received the cassettes are on the list. In order to find out why, they must listen to her story.
I really enjoyed this book. It was an original concept and one that hooked me. But there were three things that really stood out to me while reading.
The first was the book’s format. Hannah’s story on the cassettes is interspersed with Clay’s reactions to what he hears and his own journey as he remembers encounters with her and comes to terms with what happens. I have not read another story with this kind of structure and it really drew me in – hooking me with the comparison between Hannah and Clay. It was a little confusing at times when each line was from the POV of a different person, but I think that was because I was getting tired at that point rather than anything to do with the book.
The second thing was the voice. From the start, I did not really need the different font style to tell the difference between the two characters’ POVs. I read them both in different voices and could clearly picture the characters in my head. This takes a lot of skill and I am very impressed with how Asher maintains the consistent voice and characterisation of both Clay and Hannah throughout the entirety of the novel.
Finally, I felt the approach to suicide and the emotions and reasons were all incredibly realistic. You could connect with the characters and understand Hannah’s world as well as relate to her experiences. It is really difficult to describe suicide, and the reasoning behind it, in a respectful and realistic manner – both of which Asher did very well, while still keeping the reader interested in the story.
I am really glad I read this book. Even having just finished it, it means a lot to me. Both main characters were well-written, as was the story, and the themes were well done and important. It is definitely a book that needs to be read.