Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.
Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes– and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town. . .
. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.
When I first heard about this book, I both loved and hated the premise of it. Suicide is such a bleak act and while I can understand a person wanting an explanation for why someone decided to take their life, it’s a really brutal thing to send out tapes essentially blaming people for driving you to it. That person obviously doesn’t have anything to lose, but it must be really horrible to be on the receiving end of it.
There’s a trigger warning for suicide with this book so I hope everyone is really aware of that before they start reading. The plot takes place over the course of one night. Clay Jensen uses Hannah’s tapes to discover the secrets of some of the kids in his small town and how they drove Hannah to kill herself. I know how dark that sounds, and it’s just as bad as you imagine it to be. The one thing this book reinforces is that it’s not one key event that brings a person to that place in their life. It’s a multitude of reasons – a bunch of small things that can destroy you. It forces a person to really look at how they treat everyone in their life. It makes you think about the rumours you hear and the rumours you spread. Basically, this book forces you to put your actions under a microscope.
The character of Hannah was hard for me to wrap my head around. While Clay displayed every emotion that’s expected from someone who has lost a person to suicide (shock, sadness, grief, anger), Hannah was a mystery to me. I’ve never been in Hannah’s headspace and I couldn’t understand some of her reactions to certain events. I didn’t understand how she lost herself so quickly. However, I empathized with her the entire time. I can understand how it feels for people to see you a certain way and not have the ability to change their minds.
The entire story is really moving and powerful. It forces a person to re-examine their relationships and makes them really aware of their actions. That’s an important lesson for everyone. I was very impressed with how unique the story was and I highly recommend this book to everyone.