Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who 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, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s 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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I won this book from a contest being held on J Kaye’s Blog. I had my pick of several books to choose from but this one with its title and what it was about for some reason called to me.  I wanted to read it.  I had to read it.  A fiction book on teenage suicide and I was drawn to it.  I am so glad that I was.

Hannah was in high school.  As this book opens, she is already gone.  As we enter the read. Clay has just received a series of tapes, 13 actually, that turn out to be from Hannah with instructions to listen to all the tapes and then pass them on to the next person as instructed.

Clay, who secretly had loved Hannah from afar, is appalled that Hannah would record her reasons for committing suicide and wondered what he had to do with it.  In an almost addictive like manner, Clay begins to listen to the cassettes one after another and Hannah’s story unfolds before our eyes.

Told in Hannah and Clays voice, I found myself as addicted to the read as Clay was to listening to the cassettes.  It was hard to stop, knowing what was at stake.  occasionally I would get so caught up in Hannah’s story, when it switched to Clay’s voice I had to pull myself out and read parts again.

I read this book in two days.  On the second day I didn’t plan on sitting down and finishing the book but I just couldn’t put it down.  Each tape, each chapter, each new character drew me in further….. who was it?  Was it one person who caused Hannah to finally end it all or was it a combination of people, of events.

Hannah’s story, while fictional, brings up a valid and important topic.  High school years are hard.  Within the pages of this book you discover that it is not one person or one event that sends Hannah spiraling downward.  As you read, while some of what happened to Hannah is hurtful, I didn’t find where it was intentionally so.  No one in the story knew how fragile Hannah was.  Perhaps someone knowing would have changed the outcome, perhaps not.

This book is a good reminder of how we treat others.  We never know where someone is coming from or where they have been.  I took so much away from this book and could go on and on but instead of saying too much I am going to play the spoiler card and say that if you have read this book and wish to discuss it further, join me in the Spoiler Room where this can be talked about more deeply.

I leave you with this information on Suicide which I pulled from Author Jay Arthur’s Blog called Hannah’s Reasons:

**Later this week I will be posting an author chat with Jay Asher about this book!

My Amazon Rating

I won this book from J Kaye’s Blog

Read in its entirety from the comfy recliner

46 thoughts on “Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  1. Wow. That sounds really amazing.

    Instead of High School, my Middle School years were the hard ones. Being in the band, playing the French Horn and church youth group were the only things that kept me on track.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  2. Ya this book packed a punch. If you ever get a chance to listen to the audio, you should. It’s narrated by two people, one for Hannah and one for Clay. It was amazing in audio form.

  3. I loved this book as well and had the opportunity last fall to meet Jay Asher and see him speak at a local Border’s. Very interesting! I am so glad that you like it.

  4. I loved this book too and thought that it would make for an amazing teen book club choice. As adults we were looking for one particular situation that put her over the edge, but for teens it doesn’t have to be one thing but an accumulation of things that to us don’t seem that big of a deal.

    1. Great points Staci. I think back to high school and like I mentioned in the review – our priorities were boys and friendships…. popularity even. Several things can be considered traumatic during those years that if you dont have someone you can talk to or process with it can be well…. it can be like this book.

    1. (to second comment)

      Hannah, (hope you dont mind if I start calling you Hannah 🙂 )

      Oh me too – I get real sluggish in my reading if they are all heavy… I break them up and when I reviewed Swoon last week that was the book I read right after Wounded. It was like cleansing the pallet. 🙂

  5. When I was in high school a classmate committed suicide-I was in my final year-it was never dealt with-no memorial, assembly nothing-just rumours-he was there on Friday and gone Monday. As an adult it amazes me that the school never addressed it. I have always thought that if someone told him to have a nice weekend or invited him to do something that weekend-would it have made a difference.

    PS I detested high school-the hip kids, clothes etc-and the teachers at my school contributed to it.

  6. Esme your comment gave me chills. We had two suicides while I was in my high school years. Turned out to be a cult in our community. Seriously. A Jr and a Senior within about a two month period.

    We had counselors available and an assembly in the auditorium to address concerns. How awful Esme for them to just leave yo all to the rumors.

    1. Lisa you bring up something I really have been thinking about. I think this wold be an excellent book to read with a JR high to High school age daughter and really discuss the book.

      It is good to remind our kids that things are never that bad that this is the answer. They also need to know they always have us to talk too.

      Thanks Lisa for a great idea!

  7. Wow…this sounds like a great book! I had no idea that it was about a teen’s suicide. As a person who suffered throughout school as the brunt of some nasty treatment, I was lucky enough to have a great home life and that I was a strong person. I overcame the treatment and flourished in high school, being a cheerleader throughout and active in track and Drama. A person that wasn’t strong like I was might not have faired as well. The people that are doing the teasing do not (always) realize the deep hurt they cause and if they do it to the wrong person, it can turn out very badly. It’s a very sad thing. I try to instill in my boys compassion for others and they know that there will be serious consequences if I find out they’ve been teasing anyone. This sounds like an important book for raising awareness in this tough topic. Great review!

  8. Reading about this book almost made my heart stop, I am purchasing it immediately. As a mother of a now 18 year old who needed medical help to get through high school, suicide was a terrifying worry. Thankfully he is now well-adjusted and happy in work but things were touch and go for many years and it is always something that stays in the back of my mind. Thanks for the amazing review Sheila

  9. I agree that Thirteen Reasons Why is an incredibly life-changing book. When I did a review for this book, I stated that I not only recommend this to its targeted YA readers, but to their parents as well, and basically, to everyone, no matter what the age. Great review. Also, I’m excited to see your interview with the author. Have a great day.

  10. An important topic that should be seriously discussed. Every library should have this book for teens and adults.

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