13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
This book was terrible. I made myself finish it in hopes there would be something to justify her actions. The things she pinned on others were either so small and minuscule OR something that happened that she HERSELF was completely in control of. I don't know how this book has become a best seller. Like every teen doesn't have complicated relationships with others. Nothing happened to this girl that would warrant suicide. End of story. It makes me sad for all of those that chose this route that actually did go through something terrible and detrimental. This book cheapens their experiences. I not once found myself liking this Hannah character.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
The premise of this book is good.The actual story was weak. The only sympathy I have for the heroine in this book is the fact that she is mentally ill and in need of medication and intensive inpatient therapy. The book only touches on the fact that her parents do not pay any attention to her. She blames the kids at school for her decision to take her own life. By making audiotapes and sending them to any person who committed even the slightest injustice, is the ultimate vindictive act.
The book does not make it clear enough for a teenager to understand the gist of the story. I don't know if the average teenager would understand that the girl is the one to blame for her actions. If they read this book and side with the girl, then this book gives a very dangerous message. I understand that yes, you should be nice to everyone but using a girl for a ride to a party or standing her up for a date should not cause her to give up hope and want to end it all.
The book also did not show clearly, all the ways that this girl invited some of the problems that she had. If she suspected that the boy wanted to grope her in the ice cream shop, don't sit on the inside of a booth and when he touches you, say firmly to stop, not stare into your cup and then whisper "why are you doing that?" Come on.
Most girls would understand that when someone is outside your bedroom window taking pictures, you don't just say "oh poor me" and dress under your blanket. You would call the police.
She definitely had self esteem issues and very poor coping mechanisms. I wish the book would have explained that better.
44 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2011
I just read this book because I am a school counselor, and I discovered that several students at our school were reading this book. I was worried about the content and possible messages the book is sending. I realize that there is a potentially good message in this book: "What you do makes an impact on other people, so think carefully about how you treat others." I completely agree with this message. Unfortunately, I think the dangerous messages in this book are more frequent. The characters in the book were constantly wondering, "If I had done something differently, would Hannah still be alive?" This dialogue could communicate to teenagers that if they do or say the wrong thing, they might cause someone to commit suicide. This is too heavy a burden for anyone to carry. A person who chooses to end his or her own life is responsible for that choice. If someone hurts me, they are responsible for their hurtful actions, but they are not responsible for how I deal with my pain. Furthermore, adolescents already tend to have a false perspective on life that this book perpetuates: "If others are causing me problems, my problems won't be fixed until those people change." This is a message of hopelessness because we can't change others; we can only grieve the hurts we experience. Hannah's character chose to get revenge and take her life instead of taking the risk of telling someone exactly how she was doing. She is not a good model of how to handle the trials of adolescent life. If you are an adult wondering if your teenager should read this book, I personally (and professionally) do not see many benefits from reading this book, but I did get several potentially dangerous messages from it (aside from the sexual content, which I would also be wary of).
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2014
Call me insensitive, but the suicidal girl in this novel decides to kill herself over the most trivial and ridiculous of situations. I understand she was overwhelmed, and I understand that being a teenager is tough. But, this kid is upset about untrue rumors; boys that make unwanted physical advances while she just sits there without saying no; and a boy she likes that is clearly not a mind reader, as she wants him to force her to talk to him about what is happening, even though she is pushing him away like she hates him. She is upset about a peeping tom that she is well aware of as he stands outside her window. Why doesn't she change clothes in another room? Why doesn't she close her blinds or call the police? Why doesn't she tell her parents? Where are this kid's parents? She's upset about a rape she witnesses and doesn't stop. So, talk about it. Talk to the rape victim, tell on the perpetrator, apologize for being so afraid that she freezes. Why does she feel the need to hurt all of these other people on her way out? And, who cares if the extra set of tapes gets out? It would only prove that the girl was in serious need of psychological counseling.
We all have our own demons to fight, but her demons are not ones I empathize with. It's mostly petty little stuff that didn't matter in the least. As I read the book, I waited for something big, which never came. It just ended with the protagonist learning a lesson from listening to the dead girl's tapes. That's all well and good, as it suggests he might be saving another girl's life by forcing her to talk with him, but his reactions to each of the tapes seemed unlikely for a teenaged boy. And, what kind of mother just lets her kid lie to them when they're clearly upset and going through something rough? What kind of parent just accepts that and walks away? I don't know any parents like this, nor have I ever known any kids whose reactions were like those of the kids in this book.
All in all, a waste of time.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2014
"Thirteen Reasons Why" is the story of Hannah Baker's suicide told in her own words. Her suicide note is a series of audio tapes that she has made just before her death. She records a message for each person that she blames for her suicide. The tapes are a very sick twisted chain letter of sorts. Each person is supposed to listen to the tapes while visiting places that she's marked on an accompanying map and then pass them on to the next person. If they don't follow her directives, the tapes will then be released for all to hear. The tapes reveal a few secrets about some of her peers that they want to keep hidden and that's why they are all passing along this dark, sick, twisted audio suicide chain letter without taking them to the police or to a responsible adult. As usual for YA novels, responsible adults seems to be conveniently lacking in "13 Reasons Why".
I don't know how I feel about this book. On one hand, it was interesting to read but there were so many things that just rubbed me the wrong way and I am never sure how to rate books that make me feel that way. There were elements that I clearly didn't like yet something compelled me to continue the story until the end. Is the element that compels me to finish worthy of an extra star or two? In this instance, I am going to say that it isn't.
The book is told from a dual narrative point of view. It alternates between Hannah's tapes and the point of view of Clay, one of the recipients. The dual narrative annoyed me at times because of how constant and distracting it was. While I did like Clay as a character and empathized with him, there were instances where I just wanted to hear Hannah's point of view without his interruptions. There were also instances where I would lose track of whose point of view I was reading and would have to go back and re-read.
Be forewarned that Hannah is not a likable or relatable character. She comes across as mean, petty and vindictive in her tapes. She makes it quite clear that the point of her suicide tapes is to make others suffer just as she has suffered. The book plays up the stereotypical "they will all be sorry" suicide trope and as a result, seems to martyrize Hannah. For that reason, I am not certain that this book is truly the most fair or accurate representation of the very real issue of teen suicide. It seems to rationalize her choice to end her life and that just rubs me the wrong way.
The book does have a profound message about how even the smallest of actions can be significant to another person's life without you even realizing it. It's that age old childhood lesson of why you shouldn't toss a banana peel on the floor. It may seem like no big deal to you, but someone else may accidentally slip on it and hurt themselves. This is what happens to Hannah. Some of the actions of her peers are snowballing out of control and have affected her adversely. However, one of the biggest problems that I have with "13 Reasons Why" is that the book does not do enough to emphasize the fact that some of these things are snowballing and affecting her so adversely because of poor choices on her part too. Hannah never takes responsibility for her choices and her actions...or inaction in some instances.
In my opinion, the book also does not do enough to emphasize the fact that Hannah was a deeply troubled young girl who has not gotten proper help. The book focuses more on detailing why she blames these people for her suicide. However, the reader never hears the point of views of these other characters. Hannah is unstable and spiraling. She contradicts herself at times and it becomes quite clear that she is not necessarily a reliable narrator. It also becomes quite clear that not all of these people belong on Hannah's list and it is questionable whether some of them actually did some of the things that she is accusing them of. I think that very important and relevant message gets lost in Hannah's elaborate blame game. Hannah was not a normal, sane, rational, well adjusted girl that was tormented and bullied and driven to suicide. Hannah had undiagnosed severe psychological issues and because of her fragile mental state, she lacked the ability to effectively handle the common adolescent peer pressures that many other normal, sane, rational and well adjusted teens manage to navigate successfully without becoming depressed and resorting to suicide. No one single person or groups of people are to blame for her suicide. Her illness was to blame. Her illness is what caused her to commit suicide and the book seems to suggest otherwise and this just isn't fair.
Many young people believe that this book has changed their lives. Based on some of the testimonies on the author's websites, some even believe that it saved them and I really do think that is wonderful. I don't want to knock the book unfairly, but it just didn't have that same affect on me. I felt like it rationalized something that should never and can never be rationalized or made sense of.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
My rating: 2/5 stars
*May contain some spoilers*
In the beginning we beet Clay. Clay seems like a sweet guy who had a crush on Hannah, a girl who killed herself. But before her suicide she recorded 13 tapes; tapes, that will tell you why she killed herself.
Really love the sound of it, right? I did, so I just couldn't wait to read it! I had just read Hate List and Speak and was expecting something as amazing!
Unfortunately, this book just wasn't worth the hype. I was waiting for something huge, a great book dealing with difficult subject with some suspence. But that really wasn't what I got.
First of all, there's two POVs; Clays, and Hannah reading her tapes. It was really confusing! It seems like a great idea, but these two were mixed so completely it was hard to know who's POV I was reading. So sometimes it took me two pages before I realized I was reading Hannah's POV, not Clays! And had to read it all over again. That was quite annoying. But otherwise the writing was okay.
What can I say about the characters.. Well, Clay really is a sweet boy, who had a crush on Hannah. And that was actually his only mistake. Having a crush on her, I mean.
Because of that, he becomes one of Hannah's victims. You might think that since he's on the tapes, he must have done something horrible to Hannah, right? Well, not exactly. So I just feel bad for the poor boy! But at least Clay's character was believable and likable.
But Hannah.. Oh, Hannah. I was waiting this tortured soul, a depressed teenager who had horrible life and that's why she ended it. But.. Yeah, it just didn't work!
I know, this book was suppose to be about how everyone should think about their actions because they might effect other people. But I didn't learn that kind of lesson from the book. All I learned was that Hannah really is a b*tch!
First she kills herself because she feels like it. But that wasn't enough! She records tapes where she blames other people for her own actions. Well, at least she acts like a stupid teenager! So guess that part is actually believable.
She's one of those weak characters who just likes to blame other people all the time. And now she haunts them from the grave! How wrong is that. Yeah, there was like two people who actually deserved to receive the tapes and who actually did something wrong. All the others were stuff like "omg, he said my ass is the best looking evö, i so wanna die now!". WTH?
Sure, everyone's different, but if that is your biggest problem..
And who is she to blame anyone else, when she did nothing when she should've? Like witnessing a rape and doing nothing. She's just acting all passive bystander, who can do nothing. And that is why I hate her so much. Because I don't like people who act like victim all the time. They complain and then.. do nothing. Hello, ever heard of something like "the police"??
When I read the book, tape by tape, I was waiting for some huge revelation. I mean, since she killed herself, there must be a reason. Something had to be the last straw that finally made her decide "today I'm going to kill myself". If that's something you'd like to read about, don't read this book. Seriously. Because you wait and you wait, but you'll never get the huge revelation.
Also, if you're one of those readers who like to cry because the book is so emotional, again, avoid this book. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't shed a tear. And believe me, I tried!
There was this one scene where Hannah was all devastated and crying and you know it's suppose to be all emotional and you're suppose to be crying, but no matter how much I tried, I couldn't cry. Because it wasn't actually that sad scene, it was just silly girl making a fuss.
So, this really sounded like a great book, but really.. wasn't. I expected something awesome and meaningful, but it really wasn't believable. I did like Clay, so that's why I gave two cupcakes instead of just one.
Monaliz @ Mind Reading?
71 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2007
In my 33 years of being a librarian, I've rarely experienced the buzz and excitement that this book has generated, Harry Potter notwithstanding! I picked up several autographed copies of it last night, in anticipation of the author's visit to our school and to a local bookstore today. I thought I'd skim it to get an idea of its contents...well, there's no way to put it down. I tried. More than once. Jay Asher has the remarkable ability to write from both the female and male points of view. Thirteen Reasons Why grabs the reader instantly--it's well-written, it's perceptive, it has elements of a psychological, Hitchcockian(?)mystery/thriller. The reader is left to ponder the power of words, rumors, and innuendo; adults will be reminded of their teen years (and people they'll never forget) and teen readers, too, will identify with one or more characters. I won't recount the storyline, since the professional reviewers' synopsis will suffice. I will emphasize that this is a MUST READ, no matter what your age! Just start reading it at a reasonable hour, because putting it down isn't an option!
96 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2008
This is my first review on Amazon, and I am only doing this because I feel it is necessary to warn people about this book.
The character that is giving the thirteen reasons for committing suicide is not looking for help, and at every opportunity, pushes those away that are interested in trying. She feels the world revolves around her, and looks for reasons for suicide because other people don't feel the same way.
Half of all high-school girls will go through most of what Hannah went through. It is sad, but that is teenage school life.
As the book continues on, it becomes harder and harder to feel sorry for Hannah. She is guilty of the same lack of effort she chastised everyone on her list for.
At the end of the book, the only people you feel sorry for are those Hannah calls out (with 2 exceptions), as they now have to live with the idea that because they did not put Hannah before them in all things they were the cause of her death.
This book sends a horrible message, and will be extremely confusing to teens that are facing real problems with depression, as they see a girl that has plenty of reasons, none of which are anywhere near as bad as theirs, and lose all hope for themselves if someone with so few real problems wasn't able to find a way to get through it.
The writing is great and the premise had such incredible potential, but was wasted when Hannah was written as the whiny girl looking for excuses.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
I read this book along time ago when i was depressed and then i loved it. Now, reading it again, i don't see why i loved it to begin with.
I'm going to start with the positives.
-the way Jay was creative enough to use tapes.
why: who uses tapes anymore? i really liked the idea.
-the map to use on Hannah's point of view.
why: when she told them to go somewhere and described how she felt.
why: his character was so real to me. his reactions were realistic. i loved him.
why: she was so whiny and constantly complaining. her "reasons" were just simple things, (spoiler) being set up at a date, a pepping tom. these are just high school things. and not other that -Hannah's tone of voice.
what i mean is: while recording her voice on the tapes, she was trying to be funny. (some-what spoiler) Example: "'Hey! That sounds like a joke. Why would a dead girl lie? Answer: Because she cant stand up.' Is this some kind of twisted suicide note? 'Go ahead. Laugh. Oh well. I thought it was funny.'"
-the way Jay made Hannah.
why: he made her sound like some whiny, 12 year old girl. which (to me) came off as stupid and irritating. just because of the simple things to "end her life." were really no big deal. so it was really like saying "hahahah. you're why i killed my self. nada-nada-nada-nada."
so don't waste your time.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2014
I can't remember the last time I was so agitated upon finishing a book. The concept was interesting but the execution was completely lacking. What could have been a touching story imparting the dangers of bullying, in reality is a dangerous blame game. I don't want to get into any spoilers, but I will say that by the end of the book it becomes impossible to feel bad for the girl who killed herself. Her character reveals that she has hurt people worse than they ever hurt her, but then she goes on to shame and blame them anyway. The boy who did nothing but have feelings for her ends up believing that it was his responsibility to save her and that he failed her. The book ends with him living with the guilt of not saving her, even though that was never his job in the first place. This is a dangerous lesson for a book classified as young adult fiction. I'm sure that this book started off with good intentions, but it absolutely did not accomplish anything positive for teen suicide or bullying awareness.