Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

 

Thirteen Reasons Why

 

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Group

Release Date: June 14, 2011

Genre: Teen and Young Adult, Social and Family Issues, Suicide

Format: ebook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Rating: Dark to Espresso Roast

 

Blurb

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

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 tells him that there are thirteen reasons why 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 firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Review:

First impression.
The only real difficulty I had with the book at first were the descriptions of Clay’s actions. They were inserted at ‘random’ points, sometimes jarringly so, as he listened to the tapes. I suppose it was the only real way to remind you that the whole point was that he was listening and reacting to the story just like you were.

And the effect was impressive. You didn’t get lost in the narration as if someone were telling a story, instead, you were pulled into the emotions and thoughts of Clay as he processed what he was hearing.
What kept me reading (or didn’t).

My husband and I listened to the audio version while on a road trip. We listened to it over the course of two days, the second of which was about 5 hours straight.

I had to request – no, demand – one stop near the middle of the book so I could collect my emotions before listening to the rest.

I knew the context of the book before I started it, which I thought would have prepared me for a heart wrenching read/listen. I was wrong. Having been the victim of what was sometimes severe bullying in school, I was not at all prepared for the emotional impact this story would have on me nearly 30 years after I graduated.

The harder topics in the book (rape, drug and alcohol usage, etc.) were not candy coated, but neither were they presented gratuitously. There was no denying what was happening, how the character felt about the event, or what their reaction was after. To say the emotions in the book are raw would be an understatement.

After taste.

All that being said, I walked away from this end of this book hopeful. Which is good, because there are moments when you absolutely FEEL the hopelessness of all the characters. I was nervous as we got toward the end that the author was going to leave us feeling completely brutalized by the intensity of the story, but at the last moment, the whole story has a purpose, and THAT is what made the emotional wringer of this book worth it.

Overall impression.

I have listened to the audio version twice, and read the ebook.

About the Author:

Asher, Jay

Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. At this point in his life, he had decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.

He has published only one book to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, which was published in October 2007. He is currently working on his second Young Adult novel, and has written several picture books and screenplays. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high reviews from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Kormon.

Purchase links: 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas

 

Tower of Dawn Cover

Title: Tower of Dawn, Book 5 in the Throne of Glass Series

Author: Maas, Sarah J

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Format: Hardcover, Ebook, Audio

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Level: Espresso Roast (The back cover contains a warning noting the ‘mature content.’)

Blurb

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica–the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both–and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

Review:

As with all of the books in this series, it delivered much more than was expected. This is NOT just a side plot about Chaol and his journey. This book revealed so much about the entire series plot and what is REALLY going on in Erilea!

My FIRST Impression:
I fully expected the book to give us the story of Chaol’s healing – both emotionally and physically – and possibly introduce some new characters. I absolutely LOVE and underdog story, so Chaol’s character intrigued me. Having been through the emotional and physical growth of Rowan, and Celaena’s journey to Aelin, I expected a powerful character arc for Chaol, and I was not disappointed.

What Kept Me Reading:
But – if that had been the whole point of the book, his ongoing pity party and crappy attitude might not have been enough to keep me reading. But the nuggets of revelations dropped like mini-bombshells as the book progressed, and gave a much deeper (and more sinister) meaning to his injuries.

Nesryn entered the story as an interesting side character, but honestly, she ended up being my favorite character in the whole story. She and Sartaq together immediately made my romance heart squeal, and what they discovered about those tricksy spiders tossed a huge grenade into the plot of the entire series.

Together with what Chaol and Yrene discovered, it should be a very interesting race to the end of the series. I can’t wait to find out how it will change relationships and alliances. The things revealed in Tower of Dawn will have massive implications as the series slides into the conclusion this October.

The After Taste:
This book was the caffeine jolt that will ensure I will dive into book 7 as soon as it is in my hands!

Overall Impression and Final Notes:
I truly LOVE the story and the world Ms. Maas has created. The characters are rich, individual (even though there are MANY of them), and extremely relate-able. The action and story arc are exciting and feel fresh. It is easy to visualize the settings, costumes, and mood of any given scene. She gives the exact amount of description necessary to paint the scene, then lets the action unfold.

However, as with Empire of Storms, this book contains several detailed sexual scenes. And just like the rest of the series, the language is strong at times. Also, the character ages would put this book firmly in the New Adult category. Putting all those together, I would not recommend this series for anyone under 18. I wavered about reducing the rating by a star, but with the sheet amount of story presented in 6 books, and the fact these few scenes make up less than 1% of the individual books, I couldn’t justify taking my rating down.

Instead, I recommend readers go into the series knowing that after book 5, these are NOT clean YA books, nor are they suitable for tweens or young teens.

About The Author:

Maas, Sarah J

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

Get It Here:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Kobo