Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill

5 out of 5 stars

Warning: This review talks about a very delicate subject, teen suicide. Both the book, and this review, may not be suitable for those under fifteen years old. If you are under fifteen please talk with your parents before reading this.

Maybe someone started a rumor about you at school. Or maybe your parents haven’t been paying much attention to you lately, and you feel ignored. You might even feel like the whole world is against you at the moment and everyone is out to get you. But do any of these reasons constitute a valid reason for someone to take their own life? Well, for Hannah Baker these reasons, and many more, were enough. She was pushed over the edge and decided to make that irreversible decision. What if she could have been stopped though? What if someone was there to help and she never even realized it? Well, someone was.

That someone is Clay Jensen. Clay is just a normal teenage kid attending high school. He studies hard, doesn’t go to parties much, and has a crush on Hannah Baker. He always has, but just hasn’t worked up the guts to go and talk to her. Now he will never get the chance, because Hannah Baker is dead.

One day she was at school and the next day she wasn’t. However, it turns out that Hannah still has a story to tell. On a day like any other, Clay arrives home to find a mysterious package left on the front porch addressed to him. There is no return address, and what he finds inside is most puzzling. Cassette tapes fill the box, thirteen cassette tapes to be exact. As Clay starts to listen to these tapes he wishes that he never even found them, for these tapes were recorded by Hannah. It turns out that these tapes explain the thirteen reasons why Hannah decided to commit suicide, and if you are one of the lucky people who got them, then you are one of the reasons why.

Now Clay has a choice, will he listen to the tapes all the way through and bear the emotional toll they will most likely have on him, or will he just destroy them or hide them away in some corner hoping to never see them again? If he chooses the latter, then Hannah warns that the tapes will be released in a very public manner. What will Clay’s choice be? And why is he one of the reasons that Hannah Baker decided to end her own life? He barely even talked to her. Well, now’s his chance to find out. All is revealed in Jay Asher’s profound novel, Thirteen Reasons Why!

I applaud Jay Asher for writing a book on a topic as sensitive as this, and for doing such a good job with it. Thirteen Reasons Why is a wake up call that suicide really does happen in life. Also, this book helped me realize that people might be thinking these thoughts and need someone to talk to. If you are having thoughts about suicide, reach out and ask for help, because that could be all the convincing that you need to realize that you might not want to make that choice.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a very intense book that I suggest only for fifteen-year-olds and up, as it talks about a very serious subject. There are also many inappropriate parts for younger teens since this does deal with things that go on in high school. However, this book is a great learning experience for those unfamiliar with this subject, and it really does get its message across very well.

I also enjoyed the writing style in which Thirteen Reasons Why was told. Jay Asher made it so you could hear both sides of the story at once. Instead of only hearing the tapes, or only hearing Clay’s reactions, I was able to listen to both. I liked this, as it really let me understand how Hannah felt about certain things, and then what Clay thought also. Plus, I got to watch Clay’s transformation and realization throughout this book, which is especially evident in the end. Thirteen Reasons Why was written in a way that told you both sides of the story.

If you are having thoughts about suicide, then I urge you, and please ask of you, to reach out for help. For example, the main character, Hannah Baker, had many instances where she could have told someone what was going on, but instead she decided to close herself off. Things might seem hard at the moment, and life might seem tough, but things are always going to get better. It won’t always be like this, and you could change the situation you’re in. The best thing to do would be to seek help and let someone know what you’re going through. One talk with someone could make you see that this might not be the decision you want to make. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If you know someone who might be thinking of taking their own life, then let them know that you are there, and have them talk about it with you. Look for the signs if you think a friend of yours might be considering suicide. Many tell-tale symbols of suicide are: a change of appearance, suddenly giving away many possessions, and becoming very closed off from people. These are just a few to look out for. The main character, Hannah Baker, showed most of these signs, but by the time people realized it, it was too late. Also, please be mindful of what you say and do to people. You don’t know how a nasty comment you say about someone could affect them. In Hannah Baker’s case, one event caused another, which caused another, which led her to kill herself.

If you need help there are many resources and people you can turn to for help. There is a national phone number for people to call that is available 24/7. It is 1-800-SUICIDE. There is also a website you can go on, These can put you through to people you can talk to and can set you up with local people to contact. Please, if you are thinking about taking your own life, let someone know and talk about it. And, if you think someone you know is having these thoughts, reach out to them and watch for the signs that they may display.

All in all, Thirteen Reasons Why is a serious story about what suicide is like for the person thinking about it, and for their loved ones and the people close to them. This book really gets the message across well, and in a way that is still interesting and feels very real. Join Clay Jensen as he unravels Hannah’s story and learns what really went on with his crush, in Thirteen Reasons Why!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

If you need to talk, or are thinking about suicide call or visit:


Or talk to someone and let them know what you are going through.

Check out the Thirteen Reasons Why website at
Thirteen Reasons Why is available from Amazon here.


  1. I ***LOVED*** this book! Not only was it suspenseful, but the message behind the book (that big or small, you can have a strong impact on someone's life) was beautifully done. Great review!

  2. I agree! This was one aspect that I really appreciated about this book, the fact that Jay Asher stressed such an important message and did so in a very real situation. I felt like this made much more of an impact on me!

  3. Another book I really wanna read. Do I sound like a broken record? :) You have some really good reviews.

  4. Hahaha, no it's fine that there are so many books that you are interested in! That happens to me all the time when I visit other people's blogs. :)

  5. I heard awesome things about this book, and your review doesnt disappoint! I need to hurry up and read this book NOW!


  6. Haha thanks! I hope you enjoy it once you finally read it!

  7. Beautiful book! Had a great impact on me and taught me not to judge people without knowing them and not to spread rumors. Nice job done on the review. I urge any teen who has not read this book to drive the the library right this second and check it out. Made me cry my eyeballs out.. (sniff, sniff).

  8. Thank you so much! I totally agree. This book really taught me that you don't really know what's going on in someone's life and what they're going through. Hannah's story really showed me not to judge someone, or say nasty things about them, because it can all add up. I think this is a must-read for any teen out there, and I definitely got tears all over this one as well.

  9. Thirteen Reason Why is a book I choose just because it said bestseller. I figured I might like it and the quote on the back interested me. "You can't stop the future, you can't rewind the past, the only way to learn the secret is to press play." I had no clue what this meant but I wanted to buy it anyway. When I started the book I was surprised. You are learning about a boy, Clay Jensen, who gets a set of tapes. These tapes are from a girl in his school who has recently killed herself, Hannah Baker. There are seven tapes with thirteen stories that have a strange but serious connection with Hannah Baker and the reason for her killing herself.


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