The Thirteen Reasons Why

NO SPOILERS.

By Jay Asher.

I just finished the romanticized The Thirteen Reasons Why.

In the story, a girl who committed suicide left a package of  seven tapes (double sided, with the last one only using one side for a total of thirteen sides to listen to) cassette tapes on the doorsteps of an unsuspecting acquaintance, explaining her suicide. Then she started a game with only two rules:

  1. They must listen to all thirteen sides.
  2. They must then pass on the tapes.

The idea was interesting enough to me to pick up the book. And after finding the complete version of all the tapes read aloud (by Era Reads on YouTube– NOT “Hannah’s Friend”), the book was complete.

The author came up with the idea when he was in a museum and listening to an audio tour, where there was a woman’s voice whispering into his ear about a piece of art he was seeing, but she was not actually there. With this eerie atmosphere, Jay Asher began his book.

This is a fine book for anyone looking for a short book about true sadness, by an author who can put the words bluntly. I am not sure if it is below my age range, but something about the book seemed just too simple, for lack of a better term. It was a book that went full circle, and kept connecting in different ways that I was not expecting, but it was not a “full book”, if books can be meals.

Though, it was a more audible experience than I was expecting from a book, and for that I suggest the book to anyone in the market for a new book to read.

The Doom List

Big Books That Won’t Let You Go All Winter

Forget War and Peace. These titles will carry you to worlds you didn’t know you wished you lived in.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Magic is a respected and longstanding tradition among English aristocracy. Practical Magic, however, is something from the Dark Ages. When Mr. Norrell strips all theoretical magicians of their titles in an outstanding bet, it opens a new era in magic and the beginning of something more strange and wild than the only Magician in England could ever imagine. Read if you want to see the wilder side of Magic not even He-Who-Must-Not-Be Named could attempt.

1Q84
928 Pages

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Love is taken to the next level with the powerful prose of Haruki Murakami. Not for the faint of heart, this novel will take you from the minor happenings of breakfast and constipation to the shocking quest of a man sent to kill a cultist leader.

 

Jane Eyre
459 Pages

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Get through the first 40 pages and you are on your way to success. This classic tale of an independent woman attempting to survive in a world that wants her dead or married will break your heart and put you back together again–never quite the same.

 

The way of kings
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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Fantasy will never seem the same after you have fought through the lives of characters portrayed in this epic keystone of Brandon Sanderson. A world unlike our own is at peril and our heroes, if they can be called heroes, are stacked against impossible odds. This book will not let you rest until you have discovered the gems at the ends of the pages.

 

Carry on
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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon and Baz. Need I say more?

 

 

The Vanishing Game

I just finished The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers. The short summary is that two twins, Josh and Jocelyn, ended up in foster care. Flash forward a few years and Josh has disappeared, leaving Jocelyn a string of clues to find him.

Reading this book right after The Secrets we Keep, which I read just after Her Fearful Symmetry, I was already spooked by twins, let alone twins living in what seems to be some kind of haunted town, or at least house.

I read some Amazon reviews of the book and I read about some unnamed plot twist that “changed the entire story”. I was not disappointed. There is a HUGE twist at the end that I, even having read the reviews in advance, did not see coming.

The Vanishing Game is a mystery novel with visual and logic puzzles that the reader can sometimes decipher, but sometimes the puzzle is solely dependent on what the characters know that the reader does not (ex. something that happened in their childhood). The ladder of the puzzles were my least favorite because it reminded me that I was simply reading the story and not living it.

Though, in the end, the plot of the book was both predictable at some points and unpredictable at others, with a decent balance. The 100-page-dash (a term that I use for the last 100 pages of a book) was very easy to get through, which is always a good sign. This is a nice book to read for puzzles and logic and less for universal questions of society and analyzing.

The Secrets We Keep

I figured we might as well start talking about the first book that we are all reading together, both in D&D as well as in the high school book club. I would just like to establish a few rules:

Please start your post by saying what page number you are up to. This way, everyone is aware of the spoilers that are about to happen.

Otherwise, please feel free to comment on this post about any questions or observations you might have. This can be an ongoing discussion so that when the author comes to visit, she can not only see live posts as people are reading her book but we also can use this as an archive for questions we might want to ask her. Thanks in advance Trisha Leaver!

PAGE 12:

I’m getting very confused between Ella’s thoughts and what is actually going on. Is she trying to pick up her sister at her boyfriend’s house or is she acting like Maddy already? Is Maddy in any real trouble? Maybe her boyfriend is abusive of some kind, or he’s dead from drugs. How come people cannot tell Maddy and Ella apart of Maddy fails most of her classes and Ella doesn’t? Does Ella contain herself more when she is acting like Maddy? Can Maddy act so convincingly like Ella?

And how come the only friend of Ella’s we know about is Josh? I mean, surely they are not that good of friends of Ella thinks that Josh is an “idiot” if he can not handle his own teenage problems (page 5).

Though, so far, I am actually very into this. It reminds me a lot of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and I am really excited to see where this goes.

THE END:

Stop reading now if you have NOT finished the book yet.

Because I just read the whole thing in one week, perhaps the shortest time it has ever taken me to read a book, and honestly, I’m very impressed.

I compared the book to If I Stay by Gayle Foreman to quite a few people, and I do think that they have some similarities, though this one poses much different questions.

If I Stay was much more about the internal feelings of staying or going, about overcoming the darkest fears anyone can have, whereas The Secrets We Keep is about other people’s feelings, despite the title; about how completely ignoring the fact that you are pretending to be your dead sister for some kind of “closure” that you will never get does not actually work.

Though this book was somewhat unbelievable at first and that “How come she just didn’t come clean in the hospital room when it was reasonable to say so?” is a very valid question, I have no idea what it is like to be in that situation, so I am in no way justified to answer that question. So assuming that Ella had her reasons, this book puts strain up strain on the plot line, in a way that I have rarely seen.

The entire book had me going “Yes, ok, she is Maddy now, but so what?” until it hit me:

She had no way out. No one knew her secret, and everything in her life was different.

With each introduction of a new character I had to think, “How did they think of Maddy? How did they think of Ella?”

And although the subject of “being at your own funeral” is literally morbid, it does show character development like nothing else. Leaver used the plot points to her best advantage, and I would definitely suggest this book to anyone aching for more If I Stay (and maybe even Her Fearful Symmetry).

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