Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a box sitting on his doorstep. Upon opening it, he discovers that it is a shoebox containing seven cassette tapes recorded by the late Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who recently committed suicide. The tapes were initially mailed to one classmate with instructions to pass them from one student to another. On the tapes, Hannah explains to thirteen people how they played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons to explain why she took her life. Curiosity and fear of exposure keep the people on the list listening to the tapes, and through the audio narrative Hannah reveals her pain, and her slide into depression that ultimately leads to her suicide.
Thirteen reasons why I didn't love this book:
1. Stupid number/ letter title.
2. The main character Clay, is on Hannah's list when he hasn't wronged her in any way- it's all a narrative ruse.
3. The premise that teenagers would pass on tapes- tapes!- to others thereby incriminating themselves and opening themselves up to derision. Would. not. happen.
4. Dark, dark theme. No likable characters, no sensible adults, only a glimmer of light at the end.
5. Suicide is represented as easy. I think this is dangerous- just last week I heard on radio that in Australia, every day, six people take their own lives.
6. The representation of school as being the worst possible place for Hannah, isn't realistic for me. Naive?
7. The narrative voices were annoying for me. I thought Clay's responses to Hannah's comments interrupted the flow and dragged the plot's heels.
8. I've read that some people find this book 'preachy'. It's just NOT preachy enough.
9. The English teacher acting as a 'substitute' counselor was a bit too neat in gathering the poetry and lack of sensible advice together.
10. It makes the reader into a voyeur.
11. I wanted it to be better, I wanted the suicide to be a ruse, another rumour and the revenge to be ramped up as a result.
12. Hannah is not nice. The revenge seems petty at times.
13.Hannah is a victim- weak right from the get go. Not someone I would want a teenage girl emulating, or even thinking about too much.
2 hoots/ 5
Happy tales, and happier books!