As you’ve probably guessed, Hannah killed herself. What you (and the other characters) don’t know is why she did it. Until the tapes arrive. The stories that she shared are heartbreaking. Hannah refers to things as “the snowball effect” and that’s exactly what happened. There is no one specific event that caused her to want to take her own life. There were a compilation of many, many things that eventually weighed down on her.
The way this story was told was very original. I loved that Clay’s thoughts intermingled with Hannah’s stories. I really felt sorry for both characters. For Hannah, it was sad that she had to endure so much alone. For Clay, it was sad that he never found the courage to speak up, which might have been enough to save Hannah. As you read the book, you can’t help but think about your own life (especially your time in high school). What if that Senior Superlative spoof list you helped pass around in math class wasn’t a joke to everyone? What if that prank you thought was so innocent destroyed someone’s final chance of happiness? What if all those times you thought you should speak up but never found the courage to do so didn’t work out in the end?
I had so many connections to this book while I read. It was almost like reliving my high school experience with every page. It’s hard to believe this was written by a debut author, because the skill and talent are amazing. I really hope to read more from Jay Asher in the future.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautiful way of making readers think about their actions. Everything has a consequence, whether it’s positive or negative, and you realize this through Hannah’s story.