Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Jay Asher

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  • Publisher: RAZORBILL
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 211mm x 30mm | 658g
  • Publication date: 18 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 1595141715
  • ISBN 13: 9781595141712
  • Sales rank: 19,287

Product description

Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 13 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Bakerhis classmate and crushwho committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, hell find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clays dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

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Author information

Jay Asher is the author of the young adult novels "The Future Of Us" and "Thirteen Reasons Why." "Thirteen Reasons Why," his first novel, was published in hardcover in October 2007, going on to spend 65 weeks on the New York Times children's hardcover bestseller list, with foreign rights into 31 countries and 750,000 copies currently in print in the US alone. Visit his blog at www.jayasher.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jayasherguy.

Customer reviews

By Ryann Dannelly 02 Oct 2014 5

Wow. What an emotional read. Books that cover suicide—especially teenage suicide—can be tricky to navigate. But this book is done so well. It’s such an honest well-rounded portrayal. There’s no glamorization of Hannah’s suicide (something I wanted to point because that’s why I hadn’t picked up the book sooner, misguided assumptions).

The style of writing makes this book spectacular. It’s a duel narrative, going back and forth between Hannah on the tapes and Clay in the present moment. It’s so poignantly done.

From Hannah’s end, I became wrapped up in her emotions and deteriorating will. It was highly frustrating at times because I wanted to shake Hannah silly and say, these reasons aren’t good enough to end your life. Stop this, please!

And that’s where Clay’s narrative comes in.

Clay is processing everything in the present moment, listening to the voice of the girl he liked explain why she killed herself. It’s the most gut-wrenching kind of empathy to share with a character.

I felt his pain. I felt his anger with Hannah. I felt his heartbreak in knowing she would never understand how much she had meant to Clay. His perspective constantly left me feeling like I had been punched in the gut.

Getting both perspectives about the same memories and the same people is what made the story feel real and authentic. There’s more than one perspective on everything, which is what this book captures so well.

It might be a completely heart wrenching story, but it’s so well done. Read it and find out yourself.

By Meghann 13 Mar 2014 4

4.5/5 Stars

When I started reading this book I thought it would be about Hannah and her decision to commit suicide, and it is. More so, to me, it is Clay's story. This is about surviving a friend's death, understanding consequences when bystander intervention is absent and moving on. Asher has taken the time to highlight incidents that occur in most (if not all) high schools in the U.S. and abroad which further reaffirms issues of bullying in young people's lives. This book is also great for starting conversations with youth around bullying, social pressures, stress and suicide.

I'll admit, when I finished this quick read I ventured over to Goodreads to mark it as "read" and read other reviews posted. I had a lot of mixed emotions and so I went for a walk...

*Climbs onto soap box*

Below are some of my random thoughts for processing:


Suicide does not need a valid reason. What I mean by this, is even if Hannah's thirteen reasons feel petty, they weren't to her and that's the point. Every human handles stress differently. Any one of these thirteen reasons have been someone else's one reason. For some people it's one bad report card for another it may be year's of abuse, and for another it maybe a life long struggle with mental illness. All equally valid reasons and with equal loss.
It's not your fault. Clay says this often as he listens to Hannah's stories. He tries to replay events in his head to see when he could've reached out to Hannah and Hannah experiences/witnesses several incidents of her own, all bad things but none of them their fault. It's not even the "Baker Dozen's" fault.
We need bystander intervention training in schools/workplaces. You see this halfway play out in a scene with Justin and Bryce along with the effect of a failed intervention on Bryce's part. You also see this play out with Hannah and Jenny later on the same night. And you see plenty of characters stand by idly as things happen that should not. Hannah goes through great lengths in her tapes to explain why each of the situations are not acceptable and how they've built onto her snowball of non-escape.
Move on. The last person Hannah calls out is Mr. Porter, her guidance counselor and English teacher. "Move on" is one of two choices he presents Hannah, which she uses as affirmation of her decision because she already knows that she cannot "move on". However, Clay uses the same advice to act as closure and spark a new hope. It's our ability to "move on" which allows each of us to wake up and start a new day. That doesn't mean forgive, forget, remain silent or become an activist. It simply means to finish today and begin tomorrow. Just move on.
*Climbs off soap box*

The book was fast paced, thrilling and a page turner. Asher exhibits a really interesting take on writing with multiple points-of-view. It took me a minute to sort out the voices in my head, but I really enjoyed not having to wait a whole chapter until I could get input from the other POV. I'm looking forward to more writing from Asher.

By MisteryCat 25 Mar 2013 1

Ok I know what I'm about to say will seem harsh compared to the other reviews but this is how I felt, and I think people should be warned.

It is perverted and disgusting, I only read 70 pages and was left feeling violated and sick in side. I DO NOT think it deserves the credit it gets, one of the reviews say something about being a great book for "reluctant teens" but if I didn't like to read and my parents gave me this to read, I would never want to read again. The point is it has a lot of inapropriate content, and it was not enjoyable. I felt sickened all over inside. I would skip this book.

I mean I know that these things happen in real life, but I read for fun and enjoyment, not to be reminded of all the sick, twisted things you see on the news every night.

By Laura Williams 07 Aug 2011 5

I can see why this book came so highly recommended. I would particularly point you in the direction of the audiobook for two reasons: One: The format of Hannah's suicide note is audio. Two: the twin narrators were phenomenally well-suited to their roles. Through the beauty of the audiobook version, it seemed like Clay and Hannah were, at times, having some kind of eerie, post-mortal conversation. This made the book so much more powerful as Clay's responses to Hannah's strange suicide note are so heartfelt and genuine that you have to wonder if he might have been able to help her, if only she had given him a real chance to do so. I really enjoyed the perspective of the male protagonist. It made a nice change in a category of literature which often has a lot of female perspectives.

I suppose that we, as an audience, have to be able to see the chance that Hannah passed up on. The message to readers can then point out that there is always one chance of happiness left. We wouldn't want things to be too dismal now, would we? I was worried at first that, as we only get Clay's perspective on the matter, we might only see Hannah's suicidal proclivities as selfish. However, Asher and his protagonist explores perspectives on suicide and how people who try to get help can be seen as pathetic or "trying to get attention". Let's be fair, if you're trying that hard to get attention, then you might just need it.

I listened to this audiobook while I was painting my bedroom, a job I had not been looking forward to! This is why I love audiobooks, they allow you to read while getting on with the necessary chores of life. This audiobook had me mesmerised from the get-go. I know my mum would tell me to stop reading books about such dismal subject matter ('Iya mam!) because she thinks they'll make me miserable. But I find that such books often deal so excellently with the tough subjects that they turn out to be quite life affirming! Thirteen Reasons Why had such wonderful characters, a great depth of emotion and, in the end, a rather lovely message.

By TeensReadToo 16 Sep 2010 5

I don't often write introductions to my reviews. In fact, the last time I can remember doing so was with the wonderful PUCKER by Melanie Gideon, which I read in 2006. However, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, the debut novel from author Jay Asher, is the type of book that begs an introduction. So if you'd like to skip down to the third paragraph for the "meat" of the story, I won't hold it against you -- but you'll be missing something important.

If you have the chance to only read one novel this year, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY should be that book. It's sad, amazing, heartbreaking, and hopeful, all at the same time. I dare you to read it and not become so immersed in the story that you lose track of time and your surroundings. You'll cry, several times, while reading this story. You'll have no choice but to think about your actions, and wonder what type of effect they have on other people. And, in the end, you might also find the need to say "thank you."

Now, on to the story...

When Clay Jensen finds a package on his front porch, he's excited. A package, for him? With no return address? What could it possibly be? What Clay finds is a shoebox full of cassette tapes, each marked as "Cassette 1: Side A," "Cassette 1: Side B," etc. Of course he rushes to the old radio/cassette player in his dad's garage to check out these mysterious tapes.

And soon wishes, wholeheartedly, that he'd never picked up that stupid package from his front porch.

What he hears when he inserts that first tape is the voice of Hannah Baker. Hannah, the girl he'd crushed on for longer than he could remember. The girl he went to school with. The girl he worked at the movie theater with. The girl who had changed, drastically, in the last several months. Hannah Baker, the girl who committed suicide.

Clay soon realizes that these tapes aren't just a suicide note, aren't, really, even a clear-cut rendition of why she did what she did. Instead, these are thirteen reasons -- thirteen people, to be exact -- who created a snowball-effect of events that led Hannah to believe that suicide was her only option. But why is Clay on that list? How could he possibly be one of the reasons that she killed herself?

As the day goes on, Clay becomes obsessed with listening to the tapes. And what he hears frightens him, disturbs him, and, in the end, leads him to realizations that he never would have expected. As Clay listens to the role that thirteen people, including himself, led in the ultimate death of Hannah Baker, his view of the world, and himself, changes drastically.

You will love this book, because you won't be able to help yourself. You will feel what Clay feels. You will, in a very strong way, experience the highs and lows of Hannah's life right along with her. And there is nothing, in my opinion, that could speak better for the authenticity of a book. Read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. And then, if you're like me, you'll read it again. And, hopefully, none of us will ever forget it.

*Gold Star Award Winner!

Review quote

"Everything affects everything," declares Hannah Baker, who killed herself two weeks ago. After her death, Clay Jensen--who had a crush on Hannah--finds seven cassette tapes in a brown paper package on his doorstep. Listening to the tapes, Hannah chronicles her downward spiral and the 13 people who led her to make this horrific choice. Evincing the subtle--and not so subtle--cruelties of teen life, from rumors, to reputations, to rape, Hannah explains to her listeners that, "in the end, everything matters." Most of the novel quite literally takes place in Clay's head, as he listens to Hannah's voice pounding in his ears through his headphones, creating a very intimate feel for the reader as Hannah explains herself. Her pain is gut-wrenchingly palpable, and the reader is thrust face-first into a world where everything is related, an intricate yet brutal tapestry of events, people and places. Asher has created an entrancing character study and a riveting look into the psyche of someone who would make this unfortunate choice. A brilliant and mesmerizing debut from a gifted new author.--Kirkus, starred review