Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Published: March, 2017
Price: Rp186.000 (
Rating: 3½ / 5 stars

Date started: April 19, 2017 - Date finished: April 20, 2017



"Eerie, beautiful, and devastating." —Chicago Tribune

"A stealthy hit with staying power. . . . thriller-like pacing." —The New York Times 

"Thirteen Reasons Why will leave you with chills long after you have finished reading." —Amber Gibson, NPR's "All Things Considered" 

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.
Clay Jensen came home from school one day and received a package with no return address. Inside it was seven tapes, when he listened to one of them he was shocked to hear it was the voice of Hannah Baker, her friend who committed suicide not so long ago. In the beginning of one of the tapes, she said that the tapes are for people who ultimately drove her into suicide and in those tapes were the truth of some of the rumors about her that were circulating in school. There are 13 people on those tapes and everyone in those tapes know what they and the others did to Hannah.

Clay was confused and shocked, why was he in one of these tapes because he was nice to her and he kind of liked her. Driven by curiosity he started listening to the tapes one by one and eventually found out who did what to Hannah. The recipients of the tapes also got a map of the town where they can follow to different spots that coincide with Hannah's stories. This book is a powerful story of how our words and actions can affect other people.
"You don’t know what went on in the rest of my life. At home. Even at school. You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything . . . affects everything."
Still coming off of a high after re-watching the Netflix TV series adaptation (which I LOVED, it was one of the most important and one of the best adaptation I've ever seen) I decided to buy a physical copy of this book and of course I bought the TV tie-in edition and not the original cover because it was so much prettier. Needless to say, like Clay Jensen, I devoured this book in a day. Now, even though I did finish this book pretty quickly and it's usually a sign that I loved the book, but in this case I was a little underwhelmed by it. Don't get me wrong! This is still a great book with a powerful message, one I think everyone of any age should read.

I know it seems like I'm going to bash the book but let me be clear I'm not, there are aspects of the book that I liked. A lot of them I think is going to spoil the story so I'm not going to mention them. To me, reading the book is a great way to understand more about Clay and Hannah. In the book we follow mainly Clay as he's the main character and there are also flashbacks of Hannah's stories from the tapes, readers can also get a deeper understanding of Clay's feeling of being a receiver of the tapes and listening to them from his thoughts in the book which we don't really get that much in the TV series.
Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true—that aren’t really how we feel—but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.

If you could hear other people’s thoughts, you’d overhear things that are true as well as things that are completely random. And you wouldn’t know one from the other. It’d drive you insane. What’s true? What’s not? A million ideas, but what do they mean?
Other than that, the pacing of the book was better than the adaptation. The adaptation's pacing was one of the few things that frustrated me when watching, but in the book's case it wasn't. In terms of characters, I liked the ones in the adaptation a little bit more than the book mainly because there were little interactions between characters in the book unlike in the adaptation so we kind of didn't get to know a lot of the side characters, just a gist of who they were and what they did.

I'll say that one of the reasons why I didn't love this book with all my heart was probably because I watched the adaptation before reading the book. I had all this expectations that when an adaptation was this good, the book would be greater so I built up this high expectation when I read this book. A LOT of aspects were different from the book and adaptation so it kind of threw me off a little. This has happened to me before with The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. I mean, I know the adaptation was lengthened and dramatized for the purpose of making it into a series but I believe the writers had done such a good job turning this book into a TV series.
No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.
I don't know if anybody else's feeling like me, but I've learned my lesson now. I'm going to try harder to read a book before seeing its adaptation from now on. Oh yeah, everyone should read this book and just stop being horrible to others. I should tell you that the TV series adaptation does have some visually explicit scenes that may be a trigger so please bear in mind of that before watching.

That's all for now!

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