Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bookanista Review: Thirteen Reasons Why--AND A GIVEAWAY!!!!

I know my Bookanista posts are usually about upcoming releases, but sometimes I just have to take a week and talk about a book I LOVE, even if it's been out for a while. So today I'm talking about THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, by the incredibly talented and insanely kind, Jay Asher.

Here's the cover for the hardcover (the upcoming paperback will have a slightly altered look):

And here's the short synopsis:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

So...if you can't tell, this is not exactly a "light-hearted" book. Which--I'll confess--is why I actually waited a really long time to read it. I'd seen it. I knew about it. But I avoided it. NOT because I hadn't heard amazing things. But because, as those of you who read my Dear Teen Me post know, I have kind of a hard time with anything about suicide. Especially teen suicide. So I knew this book would be an especially tough read.

BUT...I kept hearing amazing thing upon amazing thing and finally realized: it's time. So I read it. And let me tell you, this book is worth every tear I cried while reading it. 

Yes, it totally broke me--but in such a powerful way. It's the kind of book that stays with you, that makes you think about it long after you've finished the last page. I'm STILL thinking about it. And I will continue to think about it until I feel the need to reread it again (which has already happened once--and yes, I cried just as hard the second time).

But it's not just powerful and haunting. It's also incredibly well written. I tend to find most Contemporary novels a bit more slow than other books. But THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is almost impossible to put it down. I read it in one sitting, stopping only when I was crying too hard to read the words (which was a lot). And while the book didn't end the way I wished it would end--it ended the way it needed to end.  It told Hannah's story exactly the way it should. With brutal, elegant, heart-breaking honesty. 

Since it's been out for a while, I'm sure many of you have read it already. If you haven't--you need to. It's coming out in paperback soon, and in the not-so-distant future it will also be a movie (can't WAIT. Even though I'm sure I'll need a Costco-sized box of tissues to get through it). 

And I'll give you another reason to read (or reread this book): Jay Asher.

I've met a LOT of writers, and been in touch with MANY more. And while they're all awesome and supportive and hilarious in their own way--there are few who go as far out of their way as Jay. In fact, he's taking time out of his VERY busy schedule today--maybe even as you read this--to have a quick cup of coffee with his very grateful agent-in-law, who will be driving through his town on her way to the Big Sur Writer's Workshop. I can't wait. 

While I'm there, I'll be having him sign a copy of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY to give away to one of you. Because whether you own it, covet it, or hadn't heard of it until this post, I think you should have a chance at a signed copy. It's a very special book.

To enter: simply follow my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, March 12th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, March 13th. International entries welcome.

For more book love, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to.

Jessica Kirby adores Across the Universe


  1. What can I say about this book? I loved it! And there are more than thirteen reason why you should read it. It is more than gets under your skin and stays there, it makes you suffer and cry and it makes you love it more, more, way more than you would imagine.
    I read it after one of my best friend, one of the best people I have ever known in my life, commited suicide.
    I didn't know, didn't suspect anything and I blame it on me. He lived in NY, I live in Italy and we got to see each other a couple of times every year. He never told anything, not even to his older and lovely brother (who's the one who found him). I just got a phone call from his brother. A damn phone call.

    And I got a love letter and a box full of things shipped to my house.He had prepared it, had planned it, had thought about it. But never said a word.
    He was 24 dying of cancer. So, I had a hard time reading this book. But I still love it

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  2. You're going to love Jay. I met him at the Spring SCBWI conference last year. He is so nice and such a great speaker.

    I don't usually read contemporary but read this and loved it. So did my 13 year old daughter and some of her friends. We already have a signed copy so you can give it away to someone else. Great contest.

  3. This book was soooo impressive. The story grabed my by the heart and twisted and I cried. A LOT! But I also think that every parent and adolescent should read it. The message is so great and so well delivered and will hopefully make people think twice before they speak/act/do etc. Just WOW! And thanks for the chance at a signed copy b/c this is one book I truely covet and a signed copy would mean so much.


  4. *GASP* A signed copy of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY??? Please, let this one be for me.

    I've heard so many amazing things about this book. I actually have a copy I picked up at the bookstore, but I haven't made it through my TBR pile to get to it yet. (Borrowed books take priority over the ones I own.) But if I win this signed copy, I'll give my brand-new unsigned copy away to someone else who will appreciate it.

  5. I'm not sure I could handle this.

  6. How have I not read this book yet? I think the subject matter has been scaring me away, too, but it sounds like this is one of those books I NEED to read. I hope you have an amazing time with Jay Asher!

  7. Read this book after hearing so much about it and I loved it for it's voice and honesty. Reading this post makes me want to read it over again! Hope you have a lovely time in Big Sur. Can't wait to see pictures.

  8. I haven't read Thirteen Reasons, and in fact have never heard of it, but I'm not a YA writer and don't keep up with the YA trends too much. However, I felt the same way about Marbury Lens...I'd heard lots and lots of buzz about it, that it was an emotional story, and could be tough to get through, but since I know people who know Smith, I was inclined to read it, even if I put it off for a while. After I read it though - wow. It's such an awesome read. So maybe I'll have to check out Thirteen Reasons, too!

  9. The premise has me intrigued. Definitely going to read this!

  10. +JMJ+

    I knew a girl who killed herself. We weren't very close or anything, and I don't think there's anything I could have done differently to make a difference, but I shared her family and friend's bewilderment and wish that I knew why she would do such a thing.

    Please enter me in this giveaway, Shannon. Thanks!


  11. Can you believe I STILL haven't read this one? I keep wanting to, but I just never get there. Must. Try. Harder! :-)

  12. I've been planning on reading this ever since a good friend of mine recommended it to me. I haven't had the chance to grab myself a copy so this giveaway is way generous. Thanks so much!

    mishtakes AT gmail DOT com

  13. Sounds like a great read despite the heavy subject matter. Sometimes we need to read about such things, it can be therapeutic.

  14. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. I really want to read this book.

  15. I loved this book, it was so tastefully done. So moving and about such a difficult subject. Thanks for your review. :)

  16. Wanna hear a story? Okay. :)

    I hung out at Barnes and Nobles for an hour and a half yesterday reading Anna and the French Kiss.

    (Tangent: I got 164 stinking pages into it before I had to leave. Being broke and all, I couldn't buy it. It was basically heartbreaking. Also my elbow cramped from standing in the same position for an hour and a half. Anyways.)

    So I saw Thirteen Reasons at B&N yesterday.

    It basically has nothing to do with anything, except I thought that it was coincidental that you're giving it away.


    It looks really good. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    (DUDE. my word verification was READ! HOW WEIRD IS THAT? I mean, REALLY?)

  17. Wow, it makes me want to run out and get it right now. I haven't read this yet either but it's definintely high on my list now. Thanks for the great review.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  18. This has been on my TBR list for so long!!! *crosses fingers* A signed!

  19. I loved this book. I already like darker books, so the idea of it being about suicide--really, being narrated by a dead girl in a way--made me just want to read it more. But what I loved was seeing how one little thing, which in isolation seems so trivial, can have a sort of domino effect and lead to something horrible. The way he wove those thirteen "stories" into one picture of a girl in pain was great.

  20. I've been avoiding this book for the same reason as you, but if I were a teen, all angsty like I used to be, I probably would've gobbled it up. Somehow these days I hate to read anything too "real".

    Thanks for the review!

  21. Such a great review, Shannon. Love a good tear-jerker from time to time, but especially those that resonate and stick with you for a long time. I hope you have a blast in Big Sur!

  22. I meant to pick up this book a while ago, but like you, I wasn't feeling up to something heavy. But now I'm really curious to read it again. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  23. I'd love to read this. I've heard so many good things about it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    erinberry12 at charter dot net

  24. Already have a copy so no need to enter the contest. Just wanted to say I loved this book, too!

  25. Sounds very sad, but I'd love to read it anyway. Count me in.

  26. Sounds heartbreaking but totally has me interested! Thanks for the giveaway!
    GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug)

  27. I've been wanting to read that. Count me in, too.

    I just finished a non-fiction book about depression in teen girls called THE DISAPPEARING GIRL. I'd recommend it to anyone with a daughter--or a son.

  28. I'd love to read this! Thanks for the contest.

  29. this book sounds super interesting. and sad. i know i want to read it, but i think i need to mentally prepare myself before hand. i don't deal well with suicide either.
    thanks for the rec!

  30. I never read this books, but I've heard great things about it! :D I hope that I can win XDD

  31. Funny you should mention this.... my copy of Thirteen Reasons Why just arrived in the mail two days ago. Although I had already read it over a year ago, I just wanted to finally stick it on my bookshelf.

  32. Wow, my co-worker was just telling me her daughter is reading this book now. Sounds amazing from your review.

  33. I haven't read this one yet - for the same reasons you avoided it. Sounds like I should take a deep breath and read it anyway! :)

  34. I adore this book and I'm not surprised it was recently optioned as a movie! I think everyone should read this one.

  35. I've been wanting to read this book for a while.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  36. Thanks for the review, Shannon! I've been meaning to read this one.

  37. Thirteen reasons why.. is on my must read list.

  38. I haven't read this yet for the same reason you postponed reading it. I think you have to have to be ready to read this kind of book.
    That said, I've only heard great things about it and I'd definitely love to read it :)

    Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  39. Hope you had a good coffee break.

  40. *hugs* Glad you enjoyed it so much. I've been hearing so many wonderful things about this book, though I haven't read it either. It's niggling in the back of my mind to read it, though. *runs over to Goodreads to make sure it's on to-read shelf* I'm a bit apprehensive; this could be a tough one, being a teen myself, and having lost a friend a while ago. (Not suicide; accident.) But I'm looking forward to finally getting to this.
    Thanks so much for the giveaway and enjoy Jay's signing!
    (Maybe I'll finally win?)

  41. OMG, I love this book. I can't say it was an easy read, and it left me ina brooding, pensieve sort of mindset for about a week - long enough for my mom to want to know why and read it too.
    I think Thirteen Reasons Why is the sort of book that, though a work of fiction, it shows the reality so well, and so bluntly, that everyone should read it, just to have that wake-up call, and notice that everything, absolutely every little thing we say or do, affects the people around us in a way that we can't even begin to fathom. A person isn't a book - open, easy, simple, plotted, planned and with a neat future lined up for it. A person has many different layers to them, and sometimes, all it takes is one word, for all those layers to crumble and fall apart.

    Lovely, haunting, passionate, sad... it's a golden book.

  42. I read this one last year and am pretty sure I cried too. It's such an emotional story!

  43. Thanks for the giveaway!
    GFC follower the girlonfire27

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  44. I've seen this book in the stores but never gave it much thought. Sounds like an interesting read that could open some teen eyes. Thanks and please enter me in your contest. I'd love to read this.


  45. Ive been wanting to read this book for a while now!

    marynellie8 AT yahoo DOT com

  46. I've been wanting to read this book like crazy! I've heard good things about it (plus I love dark contemporary, which may say something about me. Hm.)

    Good review! Thank you for the giveaway!

    ashelynnsanford AT hotmal DOT com

  47. I want to read this book ..please..please...:)

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  48. Oh boy, fingers crossed...I would love, love to have a signed copy on my shelf. I have one already, but it is not signed. Not that I am being greedy or anything.

    Okay, I am being greedy. Don't care...I am now off to dip some twizzlers in maple syrup to make myself feel better about being greedy (I'm Canadian)...thanks for making this international!

  49. Hmm, thanks for the giveaway - I have wanted to read this book for ages, so I hope now I will have a chance to it :)

  50. I'm a follower, and I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds terrific!

  51. OOh I would love to read this book. It sounds intense.

  52. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Sweet and sad. Thanks for the reminder, Shannon! I think I might need to reread it. And I would love a signed copy by Jay--I followed his rise to publication a few years back on the "blueboard" and it was so exciting.

  53. I need to read this before the movie comes out.


Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Any arguing or intense debate--on any subject will be removed. Let's keep this a safe, fun space.