My Review of Thirteen Reasons Why

20170722_193102 (2)Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My review: 

This is a difficult book to review not because of the writing brilliance or lack of, more because suicide is such an emotive and difficult subject to deal with sensitively. It’s one of those books that definitely fits in the unputdownable category. Curiosity carries you forward, and keeps you turning the pages… but, for me the tapes were a device, a method that the author used to convey the suicide’s victims feelings beyond the grave to the people who had hurt her. Wait a minute, I have an issue with this. Suicides don’t do this. This involves planning, and people considering ending their lives are unlikely to write a note, family and friends are left wondering  – Why? But, I reckon Jay Asher meant well. I believe her intention was to explain that even the smallest hurt can attach to a larger hurt to grow into a huge hurt ball of pain. I get that, and it sounds plausible, but the upshot of this is the main protagonist starts of sounding whiny, and distances the reader somewhat. I didn’t find the main protagonist Hannah a likeable character, but perhaps that’s the point? The act of suicide means that you don’t dwell on who you might  hurt by your actions – you are too immersed in your own pain – hence the significance of the rape scene. I’m not going into details in this review, no spoilers, read this yourself and make up your own mind.

Ultimately, suicide is the most terribly sad act of self destruction committed by a person who has mental health issues, or is suffering with unbearable pain. Mental health, bullying and depression are major reasons why people commit suicide and these issues should be discussed openly and with a caring attitude, particularly as they are a rising problem in our young people.

Thirteen Reasons Why isn’t a perfect book, but it does provokes discussion. It makes you consider what damage people do to each other and acknowledges that we don’t really know what is going on in other people’s lives.

Of course this debut has been an enormous success with a TV series on Netflix. Both of my daughters have watched the series.)

Rating: A very difficult one to rate, I spent a lot of time deliberating about this one. I’d say it is sitting on a 4 star read.

Resources: 

If you are experiencing mental health problems I’ve discovered this wonderful online resource that I would recommend:  https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/i-need-someone-to-talk-to-about-my-problems-but-where-do-i-turn/

 

Disclaimer and buying links: 

DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

Buying Links:

UK Kindle:  http://amzn.to/2f5UABK

UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/2f61iaR

 

Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Yearbook Committee

Goodreads Synopsis:

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

First of all before I begin my review I’d like to say a big thank you to Jade at  Scatterbooker for sending me my giveaway prize all the way from Australia! Miraculously it arrived the very morning that I was going to Brighton for a family get together for my mum’s birthday! Quite extraordinary… Anyway it was lovely to bring it along with me for a weekend away. In fact I took a photo of it for Instagram along with a beautifully folded towel and some toiletries.

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My Review:

The main characters in  Sarah Ayoub’s The Yearbook Committee are Matty, Charlie, Ryan, Tammi, and Gillian. The story revolves around the five teammates who are drawn together to create a Yearbook of their final year at school. All of them are reluctant, (expect Gillian,) to get involved in this activity. In fact the five would most probably never have been friends if it wasn’t for their involvement in the Committee.  As the Yearbook develops so do their friendships. In fact these new relationships make the Yearbookers’ question some of their existing friendships, and an unlikely but strong bond is formed.

I must admit that I found The Yearbook Committee a little slow to get into at first, but maybe I’m showing my age! Ha ha!! The chapters are set out in alternating Pov’s of the five characters, so perhaps it takes a while for the reader, (particularly oldies like me!) to engage with each individual character. Nevertheless I enjoyed The Yearbook Committee. I’d say that its strongest characteristic by far is its exceptionally well written and believable dialogue. Though, I didn’t get much of a sense of place. Of course we know the novel is set in Australia but there’s very little descriptive language. So perhaps not a recommendation for  readers who enjoy a lot of descriptive language…

The Yearbook Committee will definitely appeal to those who enjoy YA, teen books,  character led stories with tons of engaging dialogue, an emphasis on the wide ranging difficulties and peer pressures of growing up. The novel highlights a wide range of diverse issues: cyber bullying, having a sibling with Downs, coping with a parent with severe depression, non-nuclear families, moving to a new school, distracted and disinterested parents, lost dreams, pressure to have sex, to do well, to be popular, to take drugs.. 

The characters are: 

Charlie’s just moved from Melbourne with her mum and stepdad to Sydney. She didn’t want to move and is determined not to fit in. She’s the bright spark and feminist of the group.

Ryan is the clever, athletic, popular but nice guy whose dreams are smashed by an injury.

Matty  is the scholarship kid who has a tough time of it working two jobs to try to help and support his depressed mother who can’t even get herself together to go to parent’s meetings.

Tammi is to some degree defined by others. She is best friends with the popular but meanest girl going. Tammi  finds it hard to convince her parents that she’d like to be a police officer.

Gillian is the only one of the five who volunteered to be on the Yearbook Committee. She’s a politician’s daughter and the target of cyber bullies, and constantly in the media spotlight.

The key words: Revelations, Relationships, Frustrations, Explorations, Decisions, Unlikely Friendships, Unfortunate, Sad, Tragic, Thoughtful (Ryan’s final chapter,) Teen, YA, Social Media, Current, are the key words I would use to describe The Yearbook Committee.

If these appeal to you then I’d recommend that you pick up a copy!

The ending really smashed it for me, very moving and emotional, making up for the slow start.

My Star rating : 4 stars.

Recommendation: Read

 

Links: Sarah Ayoub Website

Have you read The Yearbook Committee? Would you recommend it? Or perhaps you might have read Sarah Ayoub’s previous book Hate is Such A Strong Word?

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

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