I think many of us readers have heard of the book: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I know I have. But I have been putting it of for ages… I just wasn’t ready to face the topics like suicide or rape that are being dealt with in the novel.
Therefore this review comes with not one but two trigger warnings.
Firstly, if you’re triggered by anything regarding to rape or assault I highly suggest you don’t watch this show or watch it with caution. There are some very graphic scenes that include rape, so be aware.
Secondly, if you’re triggered by anything regarding suicide and suicidal thought I also highly suggest you don’t watch the show, or you should approach with caution. Like the rape warning, this show includes a very graphic suicide.
Rest assured, though. Netflix (and hopefully every other network) does provide its viewers with a viewer’s discretion before the episodes that include these scenes.
13 Reasons Why is a book adaptation that tells us the story of Hannah Baker, a teenager who moved to a small town and tried to fit in as the new girl. After her best friend -Kat- moves away, Hannah is left behind without friends.
The gap is easily filled, though. At work she becomes familiar with a trainee named Clay, and at school she joins the friend group of her crush Justin Foley. Things seem pretty perfect for Hannah. Especially when she befriends another new girl at school.
Hannah and Jessica rapidly become best friends and even let the new boy -Alex- into their group. But the dynamic crumbles when Jessica and Alex start dating.
Hannah’s perky high-school life is spiraling down more and more from that point on. So much so that she doesn’t seem to find a way out, other than stepping out all together.
Through a series of casettes, Hannah tells her story. One by one she calls out to the people responsible for her lethal choice. It’s just a few weeks after her death that Clay, her co-worker and friend, receives a package from an unknown sender.
In the package her finds 8 tapes, all of them sounding Hannah’s voice explaining who did what and why it drove her to kill herself. Every person who’s on there is responsible…
But why is Clay on there, too?
I wasn’t sure if I was ready to watch this show. Not after having refrained from reading the book for so long. But the temptation was too great. I had to click play and see what everyone on my Twitter Timelines was talking about.
I went into it not expecting too much. We all know how book adaptations go these days. There’s a crappy -way too old to play teens- cast and a shitty -way too fast for a real storyline to develop- script.
But this Tv show was anything but like anything I have ever seen before. It makes The 100 and The Vampire Diaries look bad as far as book adaptations go, and I adore those shows.
Now… I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how to compare it, so that helps too probably. Evenso, this cast is amazing and superb. There wasn’t a single thing I thought was fake or laughable due to weak acting. They seemed to fit into their characters so well that I felt for every single one of them
(with the exception for Bryce… he’s a dickhead and will always remain a dickhead. Or Mr Porter, who should have known better).
The show also includes a grade A soundtrack complete with songs like:
The Night We Met – Lord Huron
Only You – Selena Gomez
Mess is Mine – Vance Joy
Cool Blue – The Japanese House
And sooooo much more great music that really fits into the style and atmosphere of this show. I’m telling you this because the amount of care and accuracy that went into the making of this is almost pouring out of the screen. After having seen almost every YA based book-to-movie-adaptation, my hopes for having good material again was lost to the abyss I threw my hopes for Eragon and Vampire Academy in.
But shows like this…. adaptations like this…. they make me believe again.
I just can’t get over how well everything has been put into place. There’s an incredible script that -after reading some excerpts and reviews- resembles the story from the book. And the balls the producers have to not shy away from harsh topics like rape and suicide…. it’s something you don’t see much. Especially not from American producers.
But the world needs it. We need it. And not because we like to see those things but it helps us understand what kind of an impact it can have. How people can be branded by situations like that.
The most incredible thing about the show is how many characters have their own storyline. It’s like a spider’s web and we start of at the center without getting the details. Throughout the episodes we kind of backtrack through all the lines in the web, finding intersections and connection between characters, plotlines and reasons behind Hannah’s suicide, until we find ourselves right back at the center but with all the details this time.
And that’s where things get heavy and dark for Hannah.
That’s where it all ends.
I really want to recommend this show to everyone because it’s a damn good TV show. Great script and cast aside, it’s still a MUST WATCH because it’s important to keep talking about teen suicide. It’s important for grown ups and teenagers alike to know things can always be done, help can always be offered and there’s always someone who wants to listen, and who does care enough.