“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 doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Bake made Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be burned 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.”
Oh this book.
This book is one of those controversial books that you either love or hate. I know that this book was a huge hit back a few years ago within the bookish community and everyone seemed to love it at the time. Then, last year, it started to make a comeback when the Netflix TV show was coming out.
And that is when the negative reviews started to pour in.
Many people who had loved the book previously now hated it. That was for a multiple of reasons but primarily it was the depiction of mental health (mostly depression and suicide).
I happen to agree with those negative reviews and more.
Starting off with the characters, I couldn’t connect with Clay. He just seemed like a typical teenage boy that I have read about a million times in other YA books. I wish that we had gotten more than one perspective in this book. Yes we got a perspective from Clay and another from Hannah, but what about the other characters who had their names on the tapes? I wanted to know who what Hannah had said about them affected them in the long run. That is what I truly wanted coming out of this book.
The plot is where this book really lacked in my personal opinion. This book was pretty short so I found the plot to be a little info-dumpy. I felt like the tapes that Hannah sent out kind of had no purpose. They didn’t connect with one another which is what I expected going in. From what I have heard from reviewers who have given this positive reviews, this book is supposed to be read on audio so I think that if I had read it in that form, I would have enjoyed it more.
Finally, I have to talk about the representation of mental health in this book. This is where I had the most problems. As someone who has depression and has had thoughts of suicide in the past, I don’t think that it was accurately portrayed. I know that that is the opinion of many reviewers who have had the same condition so I know that I am not alone on this. This book, in a way, romanticizes suicide and that is NEVER something that an author should do.
Overall, this book was not for me. The opinions of those who have given this book I think are correct in their opinions on the representation but I can also see why many would love this book. It is a very emotional book. I love the authors writing style. I know that there is the Netflix TV show that I could check out but after reading this book and hearing all of the negative reviews about that as well, I will not be watching it.