Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

I love to read.  I get most of my reading done over the summer, but this year I've tried to make a commitment to reading at least 20 minutes each day.  It's a great way to unwind before bed, learn something new, or transport yourself into someone else's life or a new land.  Whenever I finish I book, I'm going to try and post a review of it, or at least a few comments about it.  So, here's my first book review.

I just finished the book for PBFinger's October Book Club, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Reading on my iPad
The book is about a high school girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide.  Before doing so, she records 13 audio tapes addressed to the 13 people who contributed to her decision to commit suicide.  The living narrator, Clay, is one of the boys who receives the tapes in the mail, and the book takes you through Hannah's story as Clay listens to each of the tapes.

First of all, I love the format of this book.  Each chapter represents a different tape while Hannah tells her story.  As she tells her story, Clay reacts to what he hears.  The switch between Hannah and Clay's narration added to the suspense and kept me reading to find out what happened to Hannah and how Clay will respond.  I couldn't put it down for the first few chapters, and I couldn't wait to pick it back up when I had to go to work.

The story itself really drew me in.  As an incredibly empathetic person, I love to read stories about other people's lives and emotions.  I felt for Hannah in each part of her story.  I also felt for Clay as he struggles with what he could have done to keep Hannah from committing suicide.  The writing is just so raw and the situations are so realistic that you can really imagine a high school girl struggling with her everyday life.

The message of the whole book is clearly stated by Hannah in one of her tapes: "Everything...affects everything." As a teen fiction novel, this is a great book for high schoolers to read and reflect on.  How are their actions affecting others around them?  How is one little comment they make going to change someone's life forever?  As a high school teacher, it made me remember that what I say to my students can change their lives, too.  One of Hannah's tapes is directed at one of her teachers, which made me realize that I need to let my students know that I care about them all, especially if they are going through some hard times.  I need to take it seriously when/if they come to me to help and get them to the resources they need to get through their dark times.

Overall, I think this is a great book.  It's a quick read, it's suspenseful, and it deals with a tough issue in an effective way.  I recommend it!

Check it out on Amazon
Question for you: Have you read Thirteen Reasons why?  What are your thoughts?

Any good book recommendations are welcome, as well :)

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