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: ★★★★

The Romantics by Leah Konen

Published: November 1st, 2016

“Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.”

Review:

Let’s start off with the narrator of this story: “Love”. This was the cutest idea I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to narration. Love is basically a emotion that makes things happen throughout the book. Whether it’s a chair getting pushed closer together or making one of them think about something, it’s her and it’s adorable.

Gael’s life is hard. He has this big relationship that ends in the worst possible way. His parents are divorcing. He doesn’t know if he has a best friend anymore. Things are really hard at the moment. On the way from leaving his own birthday dinner, his life gets even weirder when he meets Cara by smacking into her bike. Gael and Cara aren’t really that good for each other, but it seems that they really are into each other. What can Love do to stop it?

The story flowed very well and it was such an interesting concept to learn about. I’ve never read another book with a narrator like that. It’s like Love was a person and an emotion. Super great read. By the end of the book, I loved it, but overall I felt like there was just one thing missing, and it kept me from giving this book a five star rating. I’d recommend this book to anyone!

Rating: ★★★★

 

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Published: August 30th, 2016

“Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?”

Review:

Joanna Gordon is one of my favorite characters in a book ever. I picked up this book thinking it was just another LGBTQ+ high school story, but I was wrong. This is the story of a young girl who knows who she is and what she wants, but she has to be silenced. Her father, a priest who speaks on the radio, asks her to lie low when they move to a small new town of Rome, Georgia. Coming from Atlanta where Jo was known and loved, she agrees and tries to fit in with the high school crowd.

“Rome, Georgia, is definitely where queer girls go to die.”

This is the story of family and what it feels like to be closeted (which is horrible). In this book, you watch this out-and-proud girl become unsure of herself and who she is. Her whole life is flipped upside down. She is leaving her comfort zone where her best friend is (who is also out), her father got remarried to a new woman who’s family doesn’t necessarily agree with Jo’s lifestyle, and the worst: she is falling for a girl at her new school when she promised her father she would lay low.

This was an amazing book that I read from start to finish in a day. I couldn’t believe how great this book was. There’s a few things that I’d like to point out in this story:

Characters: The characters in this book were awesome. I love when a book has good character development. For example, I didn’t like Jo’s father’s new wife or her best friend in the beginning. I automatically didn’t like them because I felt like they were bad for her. Then, I switched and liked them both, and hated her father. At the end, everything was great and all characters developed beautifully.

Joanna Gordon: I wanted to give her a separate point because she is one of my favorite characters ever. She is this beautiful, young woman who portrays herself in such an amazing light. She is so strong and wonderful. Ugh, I love her and I would love to reread this again just to grasp the strength she has.

High School: I think Jaye Robin Brown wrote about how high school can be in an amazing way. High schoolers can be extremely vicious and especially if they found out a secret that no one was supposed to know about. I can understand why Jo’s father asked her to hide herself because he was afraid for her, but I felt like it went deeper than that. Read this and you’ll find out why.

Overall, I wish I could give this book a hundred stars. It really, truly deserves them. But since I can’t: 5/5 all the way!

 

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published: May 30th, 2017

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

Review:
I very, very much enjoyed this book. A modern day Breakfast Club with a deadly twist. Something I’ve never seen in a novel’s story before.

I just want to start off on how this book made me feel like I watching an action movie and I was sitting on the edge of my seat. It was a little slow at parts, but the ending saved it for me. I couldn’t put it down.

Next, the characters. The CHARACTERS. There were so many different developments with each individual character and I absolutely loved that. There’s nothing more wonderful than having a love/hate relationship with a character that you want to see succeed.

Lastly, the ending of this book shocked me. Some might see it coming from the beginning, but you forget about it throughout the book. When you hit that gasp moment, and you know what I mean when you read it, you will think back.

Loved this book and would recommend it to anyone!

Rating: ★★★★★