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Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

October 25, 2007

What if someone you knew committed suicide and then sent you a recording explaining the role you had in their suicide. Would you listen to the recording? This is Clay Jensen’s dilemma when he recieves an unlabeled package containing seven tapes and a map. The voice on the tape is Hannah Baker a classmate of Clays who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s instructions are to listen to the tapes, follow the map, and then pass them on to the next person on her list. Afraid of what role he played in Hannah’s suicide, Clay is reluctant to listen any further. However, once Clay starts the tapes he is compelled by Hannah’s honest and often painful narrative on the events that lead to her death. Through Hannah’s eyes Clay learns that one small action can tear a person’s life apart, and uncovers truths that change his life forever.

Thirteen Reasons Why is Jay Asher’s first novel, and the premise for the novel was conceived after he took an audio tour at a museum. (Apparently the woman’s voice on the audio tour was “eerie,” and it was unsettling for him to hear an unseen voice describe something in front of him.) From the very first chapter I was hooked into the characters and found the two perspective narrative to be riveting and fresh. The plotline was suspenseful and I wanted to know, like Clay, how he played a role in Hannah’s death. Overall, Asher does an excellent job weaving a story that is gut-wrenching and true to teen life.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2007 6:48 pm

    interesting, thanks for sharing. i like the idea.

  2. October 26, 2007 9:40 am

    I thought it was a very suspenseful read. Although I could have done without Clay’s constant interuptions. I’m not sure I needed to hear over and over that he would have talked to her only, if only, she had approached him. It broke up Hannah’s narrative too much and detracted from the suspense. Someone somewhere compared it to Gail Giles and I liked that comparison, I thought her fans would like this one a lot.

  3. Jolene permalink*
    October 26, 2007 1:43 pm

    I kinda liked Clay’s voice throughout the story. It was interesting to see his perspective in the present as Hannah talked from the past. I wasn’t too distracted by it. Was the Giles comparsion a referral to “What Happened to Cassie McBride?” Yeah I could see the similarites there.

  4. October 27, 2007 6:09 pm

    I had a dear friend from high school commit suicide. Just the premise of this book turns me off. He was dear to me but his suicide note left no doubt that his act was selfish and planned to cause as much hurt as possible to the people that cared for him while as the time torpedoing a young woman’s life. I just can’t bring myself to read this.

  5. Jolene permalink*
    October 29, 2007 8:42 am

    Tate, I’m very sorry for your loss and I can understand your aversion towards reading this book. However, the book is a work of fiction and I feel that this book could help teens identify the warning signs for suicide and perhaps even stop friends or their loved ones from doing harm to themselves.

  6. Cami permalink
    December 6, 2007 7:30 pm

    This book is amazing. I mean it. I was glad to come across it–i love reading and was looking for a new book at barnes & noble one day and found it and thought it sounded kinda sad and eerie but i felt like i really wanted to read it anyway-that i should read it. im very glad i did too. I was glad of the lessons i learned from it. but im also glad because im going through hard times and a few weeks after i read the book and had finally stopped thinking about it, i started thinking about suicide. the “i could never do that”s turned into “what if”s and “but im so lost and upset and frustrated and maybe it would just be better”s and then “i could if i . . . .”s and it was a really scary time. but, among the other things i thought of that kept me going, was thinking about this book, and referring back to what happened in it, the outcome, and all that. and thats part of the reason im still here and finally decided to forget about suicide. its scary the way i could relate to hannah and her feelings–not the situations exactly but the crazy emotions and just how small things affected me in such tremendous ways and all that–it was scary. before i was even thinking about suicide i was relating to her. im glad i took a different course of action than Hannah though. so, thank you, Jay Asher, for writing this amazing book. its great and it really has done some good in my life.

  7. Ashley permalink
    January 9, 2008 4:07 pm

    This book was amazing to me. I picked it up at the book just because i had a school project to do, but this turned it to my favorite book i have read so far. When i started to read this book, i couldnt stop. It kept me interested, i could almost feel the emotions clay had. The reason why i got this book besides the fact it was for school was, at the library i searched SUICIDE because this past september my best friend killed himself. At first i didnt want to bring myself to read this, but i wanted to make an effort to understand any reasons he had. He left nothing behind explaining it. I remember the last converstaion i had with him, and i didnt think anything of it. He said, “Do you ever feel like you cant talk to anyone?” i sed “Yeah sometimes when something happens that you cant talk about or explain to anyone.” he said “yeah, but just everything put ontop of eachother?” i sed “im not shur i know what you mean” he sed “nevermind, but promise me you’ll always care about me even if i do something stupid.” i sed “of coarse i will” he sed “and promise you’d miss me if i ever left” i sed “Dillon, i swear to you,” he sed “thanx, uhh, i gotta go now, my mom wants me to do the laundry.” i sed “alright call me back if you get a chance” he sed “yeah, maybe. Ash..” i sed “yeah dill?” he sed “I love you, and if i do ever leave, ill keep you with me, and ill miss you more than youll ever know.” i sed “hah, i love you too dill, alot. remember that. k? and trust me, if i lost you i wouldnt know what to do.” he sed “yeah, sorry.” i sed “what?” he sed “haha, lisen to us, we sound all serious.” i sed “your scring me” he sed “im sorry, i g2g tho i love you.” i sed “yeah i love you too.” he sed “promise?” i sed “promise” he sed “goodbye ash” i sed “godbye dill”

    that was the last i talked to him.
    andd i couldnt even tell he was thinking about it. im stupid, at least i feel stupid. i know, i couldve stopped him. i KNOW I COULD HAVE. i didnt ask anything tho, i let it go.

    this book helped me realize, i cant blame myself.

    Even though i miss him, i have to accept it.

    I love you dill.
    I promise.

    RIP 6-6-90 ~ 9-9-07
    Forever and ever babe.

  8. ☻Amanda☻ permalink
    February 12, 2008 3:44 am

    OMG this was soooooooooo good! But I agree with the other people that Clay was annoying!!!

  9. February 21, 2008 12:53 pm

    So i finished this book, and im doing a book report on it. I really loved it. But i wrote down all the names that was the reason why she killed herself. I only got 12.. is there another reason that wasn’t a name? HELP PLEASE! xD

    if you read this, and reply, i won’t see it because i probably won’t get on this website again. So just email me with the subject “13 Reasons Why” THANK YOU. :]

  10. Jemma permalink
    May 3, 2008 9:24 am

    First off, I would like to say sorry for all of those bloggers who posted about their friends giving up on life and others, it is a really hard think to talk about and it is great that you are able to share it with others so thank you. I would llike to say that I loved this book, I felt that the emotions portrated by all of the characters came off really strongly and had a great effect on the words and whether or not you kept reading. I read this book after reading Deadline and Before I die which are both about people who find out that they are dieing and life their lives to the end and be as happy as possible about it, I found it rather different when I picked up Th1rteen R3easons Why and realized that it was a book about suicide. However, this did not stop me from reading it, and quite frankly I’m glad that I did. It taught me that you shouldn’t keep your emotions bottled up inside and that when you talk to someone about a subject, i.e suicide but don’t actually bring it up then they’re not going to grasp what you are talking about.

    So to everyone who is posting about this book, remember that it is fiction but it has to facts hidden inside it too. All you need to see it is to press play.

  11. Raquel permalink
    May 12, 2008 4:44 am

    I Found This Book In Barnes & Nobles… I Was Just Looking Around And “Th1rteen r3asons why” Came To My Attention. I Opened It And Instantly Got Hooked, I Couldn’t Put The Book Down…. So I Bought It, Brought It Home & Read The Whole Book That Same Night…. I Just Could NOT Let Go Of It. Although Clay’s Voice Can Be Annoying At Times… He Really Helps You Understand The Story A Little Better…. I Finished This Book About 6 Months Ago… But It Still Lingers In My Mind. It Sticks With Me, Whenever I Hear Suicide Or Things Of That Matter I Think Of Hannah. My Cousin Read The Book And Loved Itt. Now My Aunt Is Reading It And Im Sure She’s Loving It.

    Propps To Jay Asher… Story Well Writen, Especially For A First One.

  12. Ebony permalink
    June 7, 2008 2:25 pm

    this book was really good but kinda depressing i almost broke down and cried in the middle of it!! but it was disturbingly amazing!!

  13. August 18, 2008 8:44 pm

    aaaaah! i want that book!!!!!

  14. Cassandra permalink
    September 1, 2008 11:10 am


    seriousli this book touched me ae….finished reading it and just burst into tears. I lost my aunty recently to suicide and it just brought up all my questions of Why.

    None the less, it is an amazing book. and im recommendn t to anyone hu asks 😀

    Muj Love

  15. jessica permalink
    September 1, 2008 12:26 pm

    My little sister was actually reading this book, recommended to her from a friend, it was sitting on the sofa, and it seemed pretty interesting so i picked it up. And let’s just say i didn’t put it down for hours, literally. I couldn’t put it down, i ended up reading until around 2:30 in the morning, until my eyes couldn’t possibly stay open any longer, and when i woke up at 8:00 the next morning, I picked it right back up again, and finished it within an hour.

    What i’m trying to say is, this book really just completely sucks you in. I’m the type of person who crys, sometimes even sobs when reading a book, but reading “Thirteen Reasons Why” i never did once. And it wasn’t because It wasn’t heartbreaking and tragic, because it might have been the most emotional book i’ve ever read, it’s because it’s almost like it made me understand everything, so much more clearly, i was almost numb, in feeling or i guess not feeling everything that ‘clay’ or ‘hannah’ was thinking and feeling. it’s sounds so cliche, but this book literally IS life changing, it gives you a whole new perspective on life. It makes you think about how you treat everyone you run into, everyone you pass in the hallway or on the street, it makes you realize that life’s about the little things.

    I found it really interesting how Asher never really explained what ‘Hannah’ looked like physically, and i think it’s because you should invision who you think she is, or what she looks like, because honestly i think we all feel that at one time in our life we understand how she feels, so maybe we want to invision her the way we want.

    I would recommend this book to everyone, I think it’s important to for people to take a closer look at their life, and the lives of everyone around them, and to pay more attention to other peoples actions.

    And i want to tell everyone who posted responses telling of their close friends suicides, I truely am sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been, is. I had a close friend who was so close to the line, but he made it through it, and it’s my personal mission (not that it wasn’t before) but even more so now, to make sure he never returns to where he was. And for those of you who haven’t read it for that reason, I wouldn’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with, but i honestly believe, this book, if anything, could help you somewhat understand, if that’s possible, and have the limited amount of closure you get with deaths like those.

  16. Zoe permalink
    September 4, 2008 11:22 am

    I read this a few months ago and thought that it was sad. I was so glad that Clay hadnt done anything cause he was so sweet.
    Pesonaly I think she shuld have showed the tapes to the world cuz some of the things the other people did, and the reasons why they did them were really sick. I think that most of the guys in that book were either sexest or perverted. Its kind of sad really. I dont think that she should have trusted any of them to begin with though.
    Good Reveiw though. However you should have included more about the book: More on the tapes and More on Clay and Hannah’s relationship.
    Good Reveiw,
    Good Book,

  17. chad permalink
    November 19, 2008 6:33 am

    I have started reading ur book and what i have herd has been a great story but also at the same time sad.

  18. elizabeth permalink
    December 26, 2011 1:44 pm

    i rlly like dis bk ! it was AMAZING ! i cannot imagine not finishin it in LITERALLY 1 hr. its the best ! i truly recomend it 2 u

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