Monday, April 4, 2011

13 Reasons Why I Loved 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box 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. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers."  ~from the official book website

1. I didn't expect to like it -- The first time I heard of this book was while I was randomly roaming around the Internet and discovered that it's going to be made into a movie. Someone had commented, "How depressing! Why are they making this into a movie?" and I agreed. A book that's an extended suicide note?! But then I saw the CD at the library and for some reason I went ahead and got it. Fast forward to today, when I spent time sitting in my car outside a restaurant just so I could keep listening to the end of it.

2. Clay Jensen -- Clay kind of reminds me of myself in high school. He's not the most popular kid, but generally everybody likes him. He's a bit of a nerd who worries about his grades and studying. And he is ridden with your typical high school insecurities when it comes to members of the opposite sex.

3. The voice of Clay Jensen -- Clay Jensen is read by Joel Johnstone on the CD, and Joel does a phenomenal job. I couldn't just hear the emotion in Clay's words -- I could feel them. I could see his reactions. I honestly think I wouldn't have had the same experience reading it as I did listening to it.

4. The dual, alternating narrative -- The story is from the points of view of Clay and Hannah. The alternations between Hannah's talking and Clay's thoughts did not happen at methodical times, like every other chapter or something. Hannah would say something, and if Clay had a thought about it, he voiced it right away. I liked the immediately of the reactions. It meant that we (the readers) could experience everything with Hannah as she remembered and analyzed it, and with Clay as he heard it.

5. The pacing -- This is similar to the dual, alternating narrative, but because the story is presented in this way, it allows the reader to feel like they are right in the middle of things, tagging along with Clay as he experiences Hannah's story. We are frustrated with Clay when he was waiting to find out how he fits into it, and we feel the same foreboding that Clay feels as Hannah reveals more and more of her story.

6. It made me think -- You never know how much one thing can affect someone. That is the overall takeaway I got from this book. You never know. Someone might have really needed that one little smile you randomly gave them as they walked by. Or they might be especially sensitive to an offhand comment you make.

7.  This quote -- "You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything."

8.  The connectedness of things -- Everything in Hannah's story connects. Lives and events are intertwined in ways that aren't surprising, but are interesting.

9. The website -- has a lot of extras and interactive features. Pretty cool!

10. This ending -- Sad, but hopeful. Illustrates the interconnectedness of things that is prevalent throughout the novel.

11. The concept -- I probably should have said this earlier, but I think it's a neat concept. Hannah explains on the first tape that there are 13 reasons why she ended her life, and if you are listening, you are one of them. She has two rules: 1) You listen; and 2) You pass them on to the next person on the list.

12. So many great quotes -- There were several other great quotes in the book, besides the one I gave you at #7. But they're all buried at random places in the audiobook, so I can't possibly go back and find them. You'll just have to read it for yourself. :)

13. It brought me full circle -- In other words, contrary to what I said in #1, I think this will be a great movie. I have several ideas of how best to translate it to the big screen, and I am curious to see how Universal Picture and Strike Entertainment do it.


1 comment :

  1. This book was very emotional, i was in tears by the end. the way Jay Asher conveys his characters is amazing he shows the strength and comittment of all his characters. He shows a realistic problem in his plot.