Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

It's been a while since I've posted a non-beauty related post, but after spending 4 hours completely devouring the book "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher I can't help but pen a quick review.

I had heard a lot about this book from YouTubers who do book reviews, and had always been tempted to purchase it, but I kept telling myself to stop buying books and just get them from the library (as I already have a personal library that becomes more difficult to find storage for as time passes). However, every once in a while, a book that I've been looking to read will just present itself to me when I've no intention of buying a book and I just can't help myself. That's what happened yesterday at Target when I just so happened to stumble down the book aisle and found this staring at me for a cool 20% off.

Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of Hannah Baker, and as morbid as it sounds, the story of why she committed suicide, as told to her friend Clay through a series of cassette tapes. Now, as I'm nearly 30 I clearly remember the days of cassette tapes, but for the teen set, this may seem like a pretty foreign and outdated concept. Granted, the author is pretty purposeful in his intent with cassette tapes, which he reveals in the book's appendix. His theory is that, given that they are already painfully outdated and that he admits this in the book, the book itself slips past without seeming outdated, despite the passage of time. Quite interesting.

The novel, while not your typical thriller, is written in a suspenseful tone and quickly becomes a page-turner that's too difficult to put down. For as you read each chapter and listen (with your mind's eye) to Hannah's story unfold, it's almost as though you become Clay, become so invested in the details, connections, coincidences that are revealed. The characters that you meet along the way morph and evolve with the stories, and you quickly realize that within every person is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a persona that's shown to the outside world, and believed, but which is covering a layer of dark, deep secrets and truths.

And in my opinion, that's the beauty of this book, that inside it's quick-paced writing, enveloping storyline and arresting characters, it's teaching us two lessons. Firstly, the lesson that seeing isn't always believing. That everyone has a story that's hidden beneath the surface, and that everyone has their share of trials, hurts, insecurities, moments they aren't proud of, etc. But secondly, and more importantly, it teaches us that although we may feel like we're one small cog in the wheel of the world, we matter. To someone, or to many people, the things that we do, the things that we say, the little things that happen in passing that we may never give a second thought to, matter. They have a ripple effect, and sometimes without us even being conscious of it, we are playing a part in a bigger story that is meaningful in someone's life. The book teaches us to be mindful of what we say, what we do and how we treat those in our lives. It teaches us to be kind, to stand up for what's right, to be brave even when we're scared, to take chances. And that's a beautiful thing.

Thirteen Reasons Why was written in 2007 and published as a Young Adult novel. And granted, the type is bigger and the vocabulary less worldly than a traditional novel for adults, but the story is ageless. I can't imagine anyone not being moved by it.

If you want to learn more, I found Jay Asher's web site for this novel, so feel free to check it out: http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/index.html. And if you've read the book, I'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.

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