Hannah Baker killed herself two weeks ago. No one knows exactly why, least of all Clay Jensen.
Clay had a crush on Hannah and watcher her from afar. He even saw her at a party once. Before.
But now, two weeks after her suicide, Clay comes home to find a box with his name on it. Inside the box are thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before she killed herself. Each tape details one of the reasons that Hannah decided to take her own life.
Clay is one of them in Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) by Jay Asher.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a haunting story told in Clay and Hannah’s alternating narrations as Clay deals with his guilt and grief over losing Hannah with flashbacks (from the tapes) of Hannah detailing the moments that led to her suicide.
This book was one of the ten most challenged books in 2012. The justification for the challenge was: “Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.”
Starting this story with the knowledge that Hannah is already gone does little to diminish the emotional resonance of this story. Asher’s writing is evocative and taut as he brings Clay and Hannah painfully to life.
This is an honest story and one that isn’t always the easiest to read. Clay and Hannah both make mistakes as do many of the other people readers meet over the course of Hannah’s story. Ultimately it is these flaws that make the story so poignantly real.
Thirteen Reasons Why is an ideal book for readers who aren’t afraid to shed a few tears. This story is sure to linger with readers long after the story ends.
Possible Pairings: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson, The Secret Side of Empty by Maria J. Andreu, The After Girls by Leah Konen, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban, Falling Through Darkness by Carolyn MacCullough, Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, The List by Siobhan Vivian
One thought on “Thirteen Reasons Why: A Banned Book Review”
I love this book—so thought-provoking and heart-wrenching and important for everyone (especially teens) to read. Book banners always pick the good ones :)