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.
My Goodreads rating: ★★★★★
I decided to reread this, having just finished the Netflix adaptation, so I can write a comparison of the two. This is not that comparison.
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY contains a serious and important message. Even though we know Hannah’s decision was ultimately hers and hers alone, you can never tell how something you say or do might impact somebody else.
The dual narrative in this story works particularly well. Hannah’s narration gives the impression of flashbacks without resorting to the standard X years/months/days ago, this happened. It also means you get to know who Hannah was in her own words, not just in Clay’s opinion and memories.
Even the lesser characters – those Hannah talks about – are well defined, with realistic flaws. They are all human beings who have made mistakes – and that is part of this book’s message. I’d recommend this book to anyone.
View on Goodreads.