Publisher: Listening Library
Narrator: Joel Johnstone, Debra Wiseman
Duration: 6 hours 24 minutes
For Challenges: A-Z Reading Challenge, Whisper Stories in My Ear, 2011 Audiobook Challenge
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)
Jay Asher's brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative -- alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening -- this honest, poignant story reveals how other people's actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual's faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.
I thought this book was really good. I love the way Asher sets it up -- the dual structure allows the reader to hear Clay's thoughts even as we hear Hannah's story. Obviously, this topic is very raw and emotional and it's somewhat hard to comment on it. Suicide is a situation that teens need to be aware about, and this novel covers a lot of the factors and signs of a suicidal person. It also does a lot to show how the little things we do for (or to) people can have a huge impact.
The one thing that prevented me from really becoming involved in this book was the fact that I couldn't relate to Hannah at all. I felt sorry for her and for the things that happened to her, but I could not get a connection. I don't know if it's because we hardly saw any real interaction with her aside from the tapes, or because the way she joked about her own suicide came off as bizarre, but I could not get a feel for her. I did, however, relate strongly to Clay, which is what kept the book going for me.
I'm not sure I would recommend this. I think it's a good book and it has a good message, but there are other more powerful books about suicide out there.
Listening to this as an audiobook is a great experience. For one thing, it makes the story real-time. The amount of time it takes for Clay to listen to Hannah's tapes and the amount of time it takes the listener to hear Hannah's tapes is the same. It made me feel a lot more connected to the main character. Also, it was a brilliant idea to get two narrators for this one -- it really added an element of reality to it. If you get the chance, listen to this one instead of reading it.