(Click here to find a library copy.)
SUMMARY: 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 explains that there are thirteen reasons 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 first-hand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself--a truth he never wanted to face. (from the inside flap)
OPINION: This book has been on my to-read list for several years and I finally checked it out of the library. I like to read realistic fiction with a psychological edge and this book definitely fit the bill. As secret after secret is revealed on the tapes in the book, the reader experiences it from the points of view of both Hannah and Clay. The layers of tension kept me reading, even though I had much more sympathy for Clay than Hannah. I thought the structure of the book was a bit false, the audio tapes acting a bit too overtly as a device to tell Hannah's side of the story after her death. However, that same weakness is what gives the reader insight into some of life's big questions, like why people commit suicide and what responsibility we bear for our own actions. Ultimately, I think this is a good read for those interested in puzzling out the "whys" behind people's personalities and actions.
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