Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
No. No no no.
Ok, firstly I want to say that there is nothing wrong with the writing skill in this novel. It's fine. A little disjointed maybe, jumping between Hannah's tapes and Clay's reaction to them which took a little getting used to, but other than that fine. And the premise REALLY appealed - it sounded like an incredible book, a girl who has killed herself explaining why, giving an insight, telling an emotional tale.
And an awful lot of reviewers think it IS an incredible book so maybe it is. But not for me. Because Hannah happened.
So briefly, Hannah is dead having committed suicide. One day Clay comes home to find a box filled with tapes - on it Hannah informs him (and others) that there are 13 reasons why, each involving an individual. Fine - ok then, you feel the need to let it out, I can kind of get that. Then there is the caveat that the person who has the tapes MUST pass it on to the next person on the list or the tapes will be released publicly and Hannah implies that the individuals concerned would not like this stuff out in the open. From that moment on I hated her. Emotional blackmail from beyond the grave. Lovely. I'd have thrown them in the bin.
Still the characters in this story obviously want to hear it so Clay starts the tapes. And from there on in I was pretty annoyed. In fact I'm not sure why I finished it, perhaps because I thought that in the end there would be some kind of redemption or some kind of emotional THING that made sense. No not so much. Not for me anyway.
Hannah is perhaps the most self obsessed, entitled whiny teenage girl ever. Yes I get that she has issues and I also get that she is suffering, and having killed herself was quite obviously ill. And one would hope that if she were a real person she would have received appropriate help. But she isn't. And the ONLY person I feel sorry for in this novel is her "friend" Jessica. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Jessica is one of the people on this rather randomly generated list that Hannah has come up with and trust me, what Hannah did to her is far worse than anything Hannah "suffered". That of course is a personal opinion - when you are in a depression (as I very well know) the smallest things can be the biggest things, but I don't feel that in this case the author got this across. Opportunity not taken.
As Hannah tells her story, blaming pretty much everyone for her issues, sometimes for the most ridiculous of reasons (subjectively speaking) a story unfolds that ends in rape. I had seen that coming and thought AHA perhaps this is what finally tipped Hannah over the edge, a trauma suffered, no-one to help, perhaps where this is going. Nope. Its not even her for christ's sake and what she does with these tapes is create a traumatic and untenable situation for another girl, her supposed best friend FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
At that point I was gritting my teeth as I made my way through to the end, where Hannah very kindly gave one more person one more chance to save her. Good of her, hey.
A lot of other people have taken something very different from this novel - and I admittedly have a very strong, very personal opinion that lots will disagree with. But for me, Suicide, especially teenage suicide is a subject that needs to be handled carefully. Whilst I do NOT agree with some of the other reviewers who say this glorifies suicide, it does not do that - I don't feel either that it really is terribly insightful or authentic. It read like one whiny girl going "look at me look at me WILL SOMEBODY LOOK AT ME".
Really someone should have been looking out for Jessica.
Kudos to the author for inspiring this response in me, a reviewer who rarely to never writes 1* reviews. Perversely it's made me want to read another novel from Jay Asher. Go figure!
Happy (or not) Reading Folks!