Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When Clay receives a box of cassette tapes recorded by a girl who recently committed suicide, he wonders why he was chosen as one of her thirteen reasons.

Compelling premise ultimately founders on muddled execution. Asher throws in at least four separate social problems as part of Hannah’s reasons for her suicide, and the construction ends up feeling far too contrived. This has the odd effect of making the story seem small, as though all of the suffering endured by the various characters occurred so that Clay could become a better person. Add that to Asher’s frequently muddled prose, and the result is a chaotic blur, not a cohesive story.

7 thoughts on “Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher”

  1. I reviewed this book recently on my site and had the exact opposite reaction. I found it to be a really good read because it made me ponder my own relationships with people. I literally couldn’t put it down until I finished it – I read for three hours straight! It’s funny how one book can mean different things to different people. 🙂

  2. I’m also a little burned out on YA–I’ve been reading a lot of it this year for work, and I just keep seeing the same things over and over again. I’m dying for something fresh.

  3. Lots of people LOVING this book. I was on a panel last week with Jay (a NYMBC thing at Books, Inc. in Frisco with Barry Lyga and Ellen Hopkins, too) and he is a really nice guy and fun yet earnest presenter.
    Prose sure seemed nice in the chapter he read, but I appreciated your perspective here.

    If you are looking for something fresh, may I suggest my very own novel OR NOT? (or not?:-)
    Suicide is an issue in this book, though one of the things I intended was to avoid making it an issue book. Another was to avoid most of the common triggers for suicidal thoughts
    that my research revealed.

    Sorry! I tend toward long comments! And I hope you don’t mind the pitch. In any case, I’m glad to have found your blog.

  4. Thanks for the pitch! Your book sounds great & ordinarily I’d jump at the chance, but I just had a baby a week ago (!!) and don’t have time just now for reading. Best wishes in getting the word out there, though–

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