Asher’s novel follows the path of Clay, who finds cassette tapes from his classmate Hannah, who had committed suicide 2 weeks previously. Listening to the tapes he finds out the reasons she killed herself and how he fits into her decision. The book shifts from perspectives and follows Hannah’s mindset into her suicide.
I found this novel so eye-opening and emotional, as it mirrors so much to social situations today. Despite some people believing it glamorises the thought of suicide, I think it actually makes people more aware what may cause it. Hannah explains how the actions of those around her influenced her decision without solely blaming one person. They way in which Asher presents the two narrators, incorporating their voices together seems to make it much more emotional as Clay reacts to the tapes as the reader does. They way in which Asher added symbols to show when the tapes were playing and stopped and the separation of chapters for each tape was smartly done, and made it much more engrossing and suspenseful. It’s a hard book to review due to the sensitive topic and I think it might have been more effective if I had listened to the audiobook, as it would be interesting to see the effect of actually hearing Hannah’s voice speaking the words.
Asher seems to capture how even the littlest things can affect someone hugely due to the ‘snowball’ effect and makes people aware that their behaviour towards others matters. I think this is especially important in showing people that they should treat people equally and with kindness. That’s why I think that this book is an important one to read, because although it may not be the best book to read about suicide it still holds important messages. I’m looking forward to seeing how the television series presents the characters and the concepts within the novel.
No. of pages – 304
Publication date – 6th August 2009
Rating -3/5 stars
Genre – young adult, contemporary
Quote – ‘No-one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people’