Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why (Audiobook) by Jay Asher

Narrators: Debra Wiseman and Joel Johnstone
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
Genre: Young Adult
Series: No
Publication Date: 2007

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box 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. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a tell about a high school student that commits suicide and leaves behind tapes explaining why she committed the act. The tapes are sent to people that she feels has some responsibility in her decision. Suicide is a tricky subject to handle and it would seem that it would be even more tricky when handled in a young adult novel. But Asher dealt with the subject wonderful. He was able to convey all of Clay's emotions as he tried to listen to the tapes and figure out what roll he played in Hannah's death and make readers feel like they were listening to the tapes and experiencing the emotions too. With Hannah's character reader's get to see the incidents (stating in freshman year) that she felt ultimately lead to her demise.

It should be noted that since the audiobook version was used that the experience of reading the story and listening to the story could be different. But the audiobook version is excellent. The narrator's voices seem a little old for the age age of the characters (high school juniors) but as the story progresses this becomes less apparent and ultimately a benefit. Joel Johnstone's voice was able to express all the emotions that Clay felt as he listened to the tapes. The anger, frustration, worry, all were there and heartwretching. Debra Wiseman's was able to do the same. It was almost like you were listening to the characters themselves not someone just reading a story.

Ahser's also offers a lesson in Thirteen Reasons Why but he weaves it into the story. Reader's get to learn about some of the signs of suicide and how a simple act of kindness might prevent it.

Pros: Narrators, Subject, Lesson, Story
Cons: Sad

Overall Recommendation:

I would recommend this Thirteen Reasons Why to anyone. I think that it is a great novel that is able to transcend audience. Adults will appreciate it as much as young adults.


Library Challenge (20 out of 25 Books)
TBR Challenge (10 out of 12 Books)

Rewards (courtesy of LibraryThings):

ALA Best Books For Young Adults 2008
Florida Teens Read (2008-2009)
Commonworth Club of California Book Award (208, Silver)

Other Reviews:

1 comment:

  1. I thought this was awesome on audio.