Clay has received a box of with seven cassette tapes. Upon listening to them he learns that they were recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate, workmate at the local cinema, and his crush, who recently committed suicide.
Hannah instructs the listener that there are thirteen reasons as to why she decided to take her own life – and if they received these tapes their ‘name will pop up’.
Clay is the ninth person to receive the tapes and when he is finished he must mail them on. The novel opens with Clay posting the tapes and then cuts back to the day before, one hour after school, when Clay opens that box that will change his outlook on life.
The rest of the novel follows Clay as he travels around his small town with a Walkman and a map Hannah left with starred locations, as he listens to her final words.
The novel has a dual narrative with transcripts of Hannah’s tape recordings italicised amongst Clay’s first person narrative.
It reads very much like a thriller with the reader learning about Hannah’s pain along with Clay. There is the suspense that one has to listen to the tapes and send them to the next person otherwise all tapes will be released publicly.
As well tackling the tough issue of teen suicide the novel addresses rape, bullying, gossip, peer pressure, underage drinking, and survivor’s guilt.
n 2016, a 10th Anniversary Edition entitled Th1rteen R3asons Why: A Novel was released. It featured a new introduction by Asher, the novel’s original ending, reproductions from Asher’s notebook that he used while writing, deleted moments, the synopsis he sent to publishers and a reading guide.
In 2011, Universal Studios purchased the rights to the novel with the intention to develop it into feature film starring Selena Gomez as Hannah. In 2015 it was announced that Netflix was developing the novel as a series with Gomez serving as an executive producer.
The series 13 Reasons Why went onto Netflix on March 31.
I really enjoyed the two alternating voices. I'm finding more and more that multiple POVs or narrators is something I like in novels. The writing itself was clean and expressive and I always knew who was narrating based on the tone and language.
When it comes to characters, I really liked Clay. He was a great guy, and probably my favorite part of the entire story is his reaction to the emotional journey he is on. I felt like I was experiencing the shock and sadness with him instead of just watching from the outside, and it all felt very realistic to me. His emotions and thoughts, especially about himself, just felt so raw and honest, and I could see, step by step, how the tapes were changing him, not drastically, but just elevating him to another level of understanding when it comes to other people. I also like how ultimately he did not let Hannah's decision overshadow his own life.
As for Hannah herself, I honestly could not relate very much. I did feel bad for her for the things that had happened to push her in the direction of suicide. But leaving behind the tapes seemed as selfish as the suicide, like she was rubbing it in their faces. I know part of it was to teach those who were on the tapes a lesson about how what you do to, say about, or think about another person has consequences we often can't see, but she could have done that and lived. I know someone who has personally found the body of someone who committed suicide, and though my friend probably wasn't part of why that person made that choice, my friend still obsesses over what they could have done to stop it. It still sends my friend into depression to think about it, so I can't imagine what the characters on those tapes must have had to deal with after listening to them. Maybe some of them would have blown it off, but others who seemed to be more sympathetic characters probably would have had to seek therapy at the very least.
It seemed to me like Hannah was just bored and gave up, or even in some cases, looking for reasons to kill herself. Maybe that was the point - she made the wrong decision and everyone who comes to that decision should realize there are other options - but hers was such an un-compelling story for the most part (there were bits of it that were awful, true, but usually they were the decisions Hannah made and things she could have changed/prevented). I don't mean to trivialize her issues, but as a person who lives with depression every day, I wish my depression was just blah and boredom. It would be better than the crippling agony. I never felt that Hannah was really agonized, and maybe that's just my memory because it has been a while since I read the book. But as far as the story goes, that almost makes it worse that she wasn't half-crazed and in so much emotional pain that she felt she had to end it in a spur of the moment decision. It is honestly sadder because there really was no reason for it and because she took so much time to plan it out. Everything she was going through could have just been things from her past that she got over in therapy or mistakes she could have made up for had she allowed herself a future. Again, not saying those that did those things to her had a right, because they didn't, but everyone in the story made bad choices, including Hannah, before Hannah's suicide. But instead of choosing to right her wrongs and change the way things were, she gave up. Again, probably the point.
Jay Asher really impressed me with this work. I felt like I was reading about real people instead of characters in a book (except for Hannah, who I just couldn't connect with completely) and I liked the message. People really should be more considerate of others because you never know what some one is going through and how you could affect them. Also, raising any awareness of mental health issues is something I applaud because it is not talked about enough. I liked the hopeful ending of the book as well, and it helped to sweeten the bitterness of Hannah's decision and her thirteen reasons why.
I think the writing and the style was very effective in telling this story. By having the different point of views, Hannah and Clay’s, it really gives you a kind of perspective and the characters’ voices. Hannah is telling her story and gives her reasons, and even though it seems like she’s giving most of the story…I think it’s important to realize that’s she’s not and that she’s not meant to be a perfect person. There is a lot she doesn’t say and thus we only get what she tells. Clay’s voice was kind of like mine at times, and so I connected him with the reader’s perceptive. He said things that I was thinking like the fact that I didn’t find some of excuses to be good reasons to end her life. I think that’s where it looses stars. Don’t get me wrong I understand that everyone is different, their tolerance and threshold is different and some times things can get heavy. There times during the book though that just really got on my bad side, like the whole concept of these tapes being made. It bothered me that she would go through it all just so she could tell why she committed suicide (and if you read it you’ll see why, but I’ll avoid saying why due to spoilers). It also bothered me about some of the reasons she included, some did in fact seem like she was searching for reasons or that she didn’t do more to avoid it. The way it was written does grip you though and nearly refuses to let you go. I had to read her whole story, regardless of weather or not I felt she wasn’t completely justified in all of her choices. Let me say it does NOT condone suicide, never once does it make it seem like an acceptable route.
Just because I gave this 3 stars doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of 5, and in a sense it really is but somethings bothered me and it effected my response to it. The message in this book is one that needs to be discussed, especially with high school kids who tend to take a kind of freedom with their choices. I do recommend this book but if you don’t like books with heavy topics then you should probably steer clear.
- Very emotional
P.S: I imagined Clay as Drew Seeley the entire time I read it, don't know why...
Middle to end
Listening to each of the tapes he learns about different stories of her life from her first kiss, to what made her feel so hopeless and lost.
This story was so heart wrenching and thought provoking I really think they should read it at high school!!! We always hear about children who are bullied who feel lost and get forgotten..THIS BOOK IS A PERFECT LESSON FOR TEENS, SOME THINGS CANT NOT BE TAKEN BACK.
I'm not sure why I waited so long to read this book, and let just say this book is powerful as it's one that will make you think. It will make you think about things you did to others as a teen and it will make you think about the things you do now, even the little things that can and do effect people for better or worse. Thirteen Reasons Why took me back to high school and made me think about all things that happened then. The good, the bad and everything in between. It's not just the big things that effect people, but it's the little things that we don't even think of that can change someone's life, like the story's main character Hannah points out.
This is the first book I've read by Jay Asher and what a phenomenal job he's done with Hannah's story. Not only is the book from her perspective via the tapes she has sends to those who effected her life before she killed herself telling them how they did so, but it's also told from Clay's point of view. His thoughts and feelings are played out as he wonders when he'll be mentioned on the tapes, and why. Like those before him, he wants to know what it was that he did to make Hannah do what she did. Through Clay's listening to the tapes I felt like I got to know Hannah more. Her story is heartbreaking, intense, sad and I couldn't help but want to reach out to her in so many ways.
Like Clay, I wondered how no one started to see the signs. It was so heartbreaking knowing all that Hannah endured with the vicious rumors, and lies that were going around about her and her withdrawal from everyone. It was frustrating that no one did anything to tell her she could get through this, or to say they were sorry. I wanted so badly to tell Hannah she was better than they were and she was stronger than she knew she was. This is a book I highly recommend to teenage readers and fans of YA. It will make you realize that the things we say and do, no matter how insignificant we think it is will/can have a lasting impression on people. The story also proves that it takes one person to speak up to be the support that someone else may need to change their life for the better. This is a thought provoking book with a powerful message and I highly recommend picking it up. There are some things discussed in this book that may not be suitable for all readers.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a darker book that is not forgetable. It wasn't a book I could necessarily say I "enjoyed" but it was a real eye opener and a great book. It deals with the horrors suicide. Jay Asher does a great job with the plot in the story, making sure readers are drawn in and kept there, then leaving with a message. There was quite a bit of suspense throughout the book.
Hannah was such a strong narrator telling her own story. She filled the tapes with such life that it seemed you were right there with her the entire time, instead of listening in on her life. Clay was my favorite character, he was so easily likeable.
I liked that the ending seemed to wrap up nicely, and that the entire story was told. There weren't any loose ends to leave you wondering, "What exactly happened there?"
This book was wonderfully written, and the premise was intriguing -- everyone wonders why people who commit suicide decide to make such a drastic choice. This book provides its readers with the opportunity to see into Hannah Baker's mind in the days, moments prior to her death at her own hand. I read the book in one sitting because I could not set aside the heart-wrenching voices of Hannah and Clay, one of the thirteen people who are chosen to hear the reasons why.
I have mixed feelings about this book however. On one side, I feel like many people could benefit from seeing how their words and actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant at the time, affect those around them. Maybe feeling Hannah's pain as she was affected or hearing Clay's anguish as he wishes that he could have helped her would help make people more understanding of others.
On the other hand, this book doesn't make the statement that suicide is never the right answer. Someone who isn't suicidal will pick up on the subtleties the author uses to make this point -- the pain of those left behind, Hannah's larger issue of depression -- but younger readers or people who toy with the idea of committing suicide could see Hannah's route as glamourous or a way to get revenge, which is not the message that anyone wants to send.
In all, it's a powerful book, one that brought me to tears. In fact, it's one I think parents could benefit from reading with their teens. I just have concern in the back of my mind about how some adolescents will interpret the story.