Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher 3 starsView full review here!I thought Thirteen Reasons Why was based on an original and contemporary concept. It's good to realize that the littlest thing can cause a ripple effect that changes your entire life. And not just your own, but others' too. Suicide is a tough issue to discuss, but it's also something that's important to think about.Jay Asher discusses suicide via Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide and has send out tapes to her 'thirteen reasons why', the people that caused her to end her own life. The book is written in an unusual way, which I loved. There are no real chapters. Instead, the book consists of thirteen cassette tapes, alternating between Clay listening to and thinking about Hannah's story (I loved the 'play' and 'pause' buttons!). There's a simultaneous narration: we hear Hannah's thoughts through the tapes she recorded, and we see how Clay reacts to that. However, I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish their voices. I tend to read quickly, and the sentences (some in bold, some in italic) kept blurring together to this one story. I had to keep rereading passages to know who said what, which was a bit annoying after a while. I think this book is probably enjoyed best in an audiobook format.I loved the concept of the book more than the execution of it. I expected this story to make me sad and touch me deeply, because of the heaviness of the subjects (a life ending too soon, missing the opportunities to help someone, guilt, grief, loss). Unfortunately, that was not the case.I didn't think the characters lived up to the expectations I had of them. While Clay was a sweet guy, as a character he was rather flat. He was almost too nice to be true, where I like characters better when they're flawed. I can't compare myself with someone who's perfect. Every other character, except Hannah, felt a bit forced to me.But despite the fact that I wasn't really emotionally invested, I just HAD to know what drove Hannah over the edge. It was what kept me going the entire time. I've read a lot of reviews where people thought her reasons to commit suicide were shallow, but I don't agree. They were her reasons after all. And who are you, as a reader, as an outsider, to say that they're not enough. The reason of the book was not to judge Hannah, but to make you think of the effect of everything you do, as small or as big as the consequences may be.For Hannah, as she suffered from depression, they were a mix. But every small thing added up to one another, which caused her to fall apart. Hannah's character was very well written. Where I was rather annoyed with her at the beginning of the story (I thought she was selfish and bitchy - talk about being judgmental!), I've grown to understand her and feel truly sorry for her.And I'm glad that Asher didn't portray Hannah as a victim. She had her flaws, made wrong decisions, and just decided to give up on herself. Though I'm not sure it's fair how Hannah makes everyone else a victim. Do they deserve to live with the guilt of being responsible for Hannah's death?I also felt that by giving Hannah thirteen reasons, Asher stretched it out a bit too much. I found it difficult to understand why Hannah went to such lengths to record her tapes. There were certainly terrible things that were done to her, yes, and they added up from the very first story. But some of the reasons (and especially the last one) felt forced, like it was the goal and not the product of Hannah's despair to have thirteen reasons. Another thing that I felt was forced was the map. Yes, it's a nice way to let Clay wander around the town with some sort of purpose, but I don't think it added up to the story.All in all, it's a good book. It carries a strong message that our behaviors, no matter how small or big, have an effect on the feelings of others. As Hannah tells us:"I guess that's the point of it all. No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Often we have no clue."