Review: Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill

Publishing Date: October 18, 2007

Source: Library



Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen 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.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a powerful book that deals with teen suicide. We begin the journey with Clay, who listens to the tapes Hannah made. From the beginning, we know that Hannah is dead which is such an interesting device because there will be no saving her. With each tape, you feel that you are with Clay,waiting to find out what he did to help propel Hannah to kill herself. Clay seems like a nice guy and talks about how much he cared for Hannah. He has regret because if he had only known how serious it was, he may have done everything differently.

The book is inventive in having a character who has died as a narrator. The writing style of switching back and forth between Hannah on the tapes and Clay in the present, helps propel the story forward. Hannah is with Clay as he gets through all of the tapes. Clay’s heart breaks as he learns about the betrayal and horrific situations Hannah faced. Hannah shows us how each choice we make can influence those around us.

Thirteen Reasons Why deserves all of the praise it receives. It is a beautiful book that can broach the difficult subject of teen suicide while being entertaining and in the end, hopeful.

If you are the parent of or are a teen, has a book ever helped you discuss a difficult topic?

Summary and cover image taken from goodreads.




  1. I read this book for the first time over the summer and was very moved by it. One of the rrrecuing things I’d read on blogs was that they felt that Hannah killed herself over trivial things. My problem with that statement was that to Hannah they were NOT trivial in the least and when someone is suffering from depression like she was the littlest things can trigger the biggest reactions.I thought this book was a beautiful example of that. Haunting and realistic and simple, yet complex.I get the feeling you felt very similar to the way I did. 😉

    • I did feel the same way. To say she killed herself over little things is really simplifying Hannah’s story. The reason why she needed to tell each part of it was because all of the pieces fit together and combine with her state-of-mind to make suicide seem like the only option. I would really think that anyone who loses a loved one to suicide, can think back at all the ways that person could have dealt with an issue differently but life is not like that. It’s not about the what if because Hannah is already dead. It is more about how we can pay more attention to those around us, to save people who are still here.


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