Thirteen Reasons Why can be considered to be one of the most read Young Adult books with it translated into over 35 languages. This year marks the tenth anniversary since its release in October 2007 and the popularity of the book has increased with the recent release of Netflix’s original series based on the novel. Since there has been so much hype about the series, I thought it was about time I got around to reading Thirteen Reasons Why.
The novel follows Hannah Baker, a teenager girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes explaining the reasons and the people who contributed to her unfortunate end. In her first tape, she requests the tapes to be passed along to those mentioned in them and Clay Jensen ends up listening to them. Each tape represents a person, which means Clay is on them. On the tapes, each person is not only roasted by Hannah, but is also involved with several events that happened to her in the past year.
First of all, I don’t like Hannah Baker. Hannah could have been written better and the attitude she has throughout the book could have been altered or left out. Clay seemed to be the most realistic person written in the book and you feel quite sympathetic for him because he has no idea how or why Hannah has included him on these tapes. As for the other characters, they each portray the stereotypical students you see in high school.
From the creep to the jock and the popular girl, the book features all of these characters and they are all at fault for contributing to Hannah’s death. With each person having played a vital part in both Hannah’s life and death, they are all connected to Hannah in some way. From Justin to Courtney, and even the ‘Peeping Tom’, each character was captured perfectly, except for Hannah. The ending is probably one of the most heart-wrenching things to read, and for me, possibly the hardest thing I’ve read. The thing about topics like suicide is almost any person can play such an important role no matter how long they have known the person.
While it may not have been the best book overall, it was a decent representation of how an individual who has had or is currently having suicidal thoughts. However, the book is something everyone should read at some point in their lifetime.
A 10th anniversary edition of Thirteen Reasons Why was released in December last year, which features exclusive content including an alternate ending, notes and deleted scenes. Another version of the book has also been released to tie-in with the upcoming series. The Netflix tie-in edition features a 16-page full-colour photo insert displaying scenes from the show, and interviews with the cast and crew.
Whether you have or haven’t watched the Netflix series yet, we highly recommend you read the book as well. While the series has expanded on the book and differed slightly, both the book and series are excellent.
Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why? Let us know your thoughts on the book in the comments below!