Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Published: October 18th, 2007

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package 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. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.”

Review:

This book was pretty heavy to read. I can’t even imagine having to listen to tapes from a girl who committed suicide. I’d be too much of a mess emotionally, especially if I was like Clay who was actually close to Hannah. That can mess with a person’s head just as much.

This book was extremely quick to read because I wanted to know what was going to happen with each tape. Who was going to be on it? Which one of her friends? Who bullied her? What happened? What caused her to commit suicide? There were so many questions that needed to be answered.

Thirteen Reasons Why mainly focused on Clay listening to the tapes. Unfortunately, I think that’s where I had to keep a five star rating from. I was a little confused. There were some scenes that I believe should’ve been more detailed but were left too vague. Where were Hannah’s parents? I know they own a store, but they never had any conversation in the book. It was Clay. Clay listening to the tapes in one night. I think that it should’ve been over a few days. Therefore, over a few days, the author could’ve added dialogue or more details about what happened.

I read the book right before the show debuted on Netflix. Honestly, I didn’t like the show at first. It strayed too far away from the book. However, when I got later in the season, the show became better than the book for me (which rarely happens). There was so much more detail and the act of “sitting on the edge of your seat”. The scenes that I felt were vague in the book were a lot more detailed and visual in the show.

I think this book should be mandatory to read in middle school and high school. Bullying occurs so much in today’s society, it’s disgusting. I live in New Jersey where the bullying laws are some of the strictest in the United States, and it still happens to kids in the school district every day. There was recently a boy that committed suicide in my town at the young age of 12. He was bullied every day. I think having this as a mandatory book would show kids that it’s not okay to bully and make others feel bad.

Rating: ★★★★

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Published: January 6th, 2015

“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.”

All I can say is wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I did not expect this book to be the way it was. I thought it was going to be a funny, young-adult quick read that I would easily forget about. Jennifer Niven makes it so that the reader will never forget this book. It is so serious, yet comical and romantic. It was truly beautiful. It’s gripping and intense right from the beginning, and you will not be able to put it down. Violet is an ex-cheerleader/popular girl that survives a car crash that kills her sister. Theodore Finch is a kid that doesn’t have the best home life but tries to make the best out of every situation. Violet is scared to drive and bikes/walks everywhere. Finch is unstable to say the least. They meet on a bell tower where Violet doesn’t know where she is, and Finch wonders what it would be like to jump. Finch ends up saving Violet’s life, but as word spreads around school, it seems that people think it’s the other way around. Theodore Finch is also known as ‘Freak’, so Violet knows that they both have baggage. They find love, and find the power over fear. This book grabbed my attention from the start, and I would recommend this book to a young-adult that is looking for a quick read with a fascinating story.

Rating: ★★★★★