Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book 72 of '10 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Dust Jacket Description:

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box 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. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers."

Characters: This entire novel felt off to me. Hannah tries to be an enigma but she ends up being a literary lost cause. She seems fairly able to understand boundaries and emotions. I could see her breaking down from the bullying that occurred to her, but there's nothing here that makes me think she's truly upset. In fact, at the part where Hannah says she finally began to start contemplating suicide, I was floored. Asher's approach to suicide left me confused and itching to discuss.

Hannah is the kind of teen girl only former teenage boys can imagine. While this works for books by Sherman Alexie, Barry Lyga and John Green, by Asher using Hannah's POV, her voice lost any kind of realism for me.

As for Clay, the entire novel I kept on wishing Asher had written from the POV of another person who got the audio tapes. Clay is a nice guy with absolutely no substance. If Asher had focused on someone who had have more involvement in Hannah's decision to end her life, I would've enjoyed this book a lot more.

The side characters were interesting. Just not enough to save this book. 3 flowers.

There is a lot of juxtaposition between Hannah's story telling and Clay's reaction to it. It grated on my nerves more than once. Clay's reaction often took me completely out of the story and made me want to hurl the book across the room. Some of the writing was quite pretty, but seeing as the two POVs canceled each other out, it wasn't enough to keep me enthralled. 3 flowers.

Sometimes I honestly thought that people on the tapes didn't deserve to be there. The flow of the tapes did work well, however. Asher does paint an excellent picture with puzzles pieces. A few of them just happen to have the edges shaved off. I couldn't get over how wrong Clay was as the narrator to let myself go through the story with satisfaction. 3 and half flowers.

I'd be lying if it didn't inspire WTF from my lips. 3 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
Suspenseful and surprisingly excellent. 4 and a half flowers.

The girl is generic but the setting makes it instantly desolate. 4 flowers.

A huge disappointment. I understand why this book was such a big deal. I just think Asher still needs to evolve as an author. I'll be waiting for his next book to see if he does. 3 flowers.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I have a signed copy of this book but I haven't gotten around to reading it. Maybe I'll read it this year. Although, you're luke warm rating doesn't encourage me to run to my shelf and read it. I only run for 4 star books. : )