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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why (edition 2011)

by Jay Asher

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5,610473763 (4.02)197
Title:Thirteen Reasons Why
Authors:Jay Asher
Info:Razorbill (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


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Showing 1-5 of 461 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book. First, the negatives... I could only really find one... the voices take some work to differentiate. Hannah's voice is italicized, while Clay's and everyone else's is not, but they are mingling with each other, as Clay reacts and responds to what Hannah says in her suicide tapes. I found myself having to back up and re-read things to get the voices right and keep them straight.

That said, I really enjoyed the story. It felt original, and I found several good, thought-provoking quotes. I also liked the message of the story, about how actions have ripple effects that people do not necessarily expect or know about. So many times we hear that we can do whatever we want as long as it hurts no one else, but many times we don't know how what we do affects other people.

Hannah leaves cassettes behind to a select few to tell her story, to explain what brought her to her suicide, to show how actions and sometimes non-actions make a difference. She exhibits all the telling signs of someone getting ready to commit suicide (changing appearance, giving things away, asking for help), but no one listened to her. The people chosen all have a hand to play in her suicide, or so she says (except for Clay).

I'm not sure I agree with placing blame on other people for making a decision like that, because ultimately it is the person's choice, and they can really only blame themselves. She had her whole life ahead of her. She would have graduated and left all of those people behind, starting over. She chose to live in that particular moment and end it all.

In my opinion she had a victim's mentality, which I don't really care for. Yes, she was treated poorly, yes she witnessed some pretty bad stuff, but nothing that happened to her was that shocking when you consider what teens are exposed to these days. She was the one who chose to let Bryce use her and take advantage of her, in the end. And even though Mr. Porter failed her, rather than being a voice for other people suffering from the same things, she gave up, placed her blame, and checked out. Suicide is such a selfish answer to temporary problems.

I still liked the originality of the story, and it was a page-turning quick read... I would recommend it... but I would stress that in my opinion although it sends one right message about the affects people have on each other, it has a bad message in that it blames those people for her final action. ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
When I first heard about the book, I knew that I had to read it. When I heard that a movie was going to be made about it, I knew that I had to read it pretty soon.

Now that I read it, I'm not really sure how to feel about it. I feel like there are good things about this novel, but also really bad things too.

The good.

The concept. I loved it. It was the main reason why I was intrigued by this novel in the first place. A girl kills herself and sends tapes to those who wronged her. That's pretty powerful stuff. Whenever I read a news article about a teen who committed suicide, I do wonder why. And this novel takes us on that journey. It's not pretty, but it's something that Hannah wanted to tell.

The writing. The writing was good and flowed quite well. I do understand how it might be frustrating to go back and forth between Hannah and Clay (Hannah's tape is written in italics while Clay is in regular text), but the writing style didn't bother me. The only time I felt annoyed was when Clay started speaking during the interesting moments of the tape, because I wanted to just listen to Hannah. But even then, it made sense so I didn't mind it too much.

The moral of the story. What you say or do can affect someone in ways you may never imagine. I think this is a really profound and good message to have.

The bad.

Hannah and the execution of her story. I know, I know. I even feel bad writing her name here like this, but she annoyed me. I wanted to sympathize with her, I wanted to be on her corner, but some of the people she sent the tape to didn't deserve it.

Also, I felt like she had a defeatist attitude about everything. It wasn't that long ago since I was a teen, so I do understand her hardships. And I've suffered through depression, so I understand how sucky it is feeling that way. But she never does anything about her situation. Her gut tells her not to do something, but she does it anyways. Her gut tells her to step up and ask for help, but she doesn't do it.

She just lets things happen and criticizes others for it. She does mention that the suicide is her choice, but the book is about her blaming others, some of them do deserve this, others don't.

I like that she's flawed, self-absorbed, and kind of shallow, but some self reflection would have been nice to read.

The part of the story when Hannah tells us what happened during the party is what really made me annoyed with her.She pushes Clay away from her, because it's too late. She witnesses a rape of her former friend and just sits there and lets it happen. What's worse is that her former friend is unconscious while this is going on. She probably didn't find out about it until she got her tapes and that really peeved me off. Even though they're not friends anymore, let her know what happened. Finding out like this is just messed up!

I'll just stop, because I realize that I'm ranting at the moment.

Clay. I feel bad for this one too, but he was seriously way too good. I don't have a problem with this, but I kind of hate that Hannah sent him the tapes. He was nothing but good to her so she includes his name to apologize to him and say he's a great guy....I don't know about you, but I almost felt like it was better for him to not know what really happened, because this tape would probably scar him

He didn't deserve the tapes and seemed to only be there to enforce Hannah's message. I almost kind of wish Byrce or someone who did something wrong to her was providing commentary. Then we could see both sides of the story and have some guilt and self reflection on their part.


This book has and will touch many people. Teen suicide is a touchy but important topic that needs to be discussed more. There are just some things about this book that didn't work for me.

3 stars. ( )
  pdbkwm | Sep 8, 2014 |
This book was recommended to me by a co-worker. She said her daughter wasn't a big reader, but loved it. Sometimes I'm hesitant to read books when someone prefaces it with "I don't usually read, but...". It almost never works out, but I get suckered in every time anyway. In this case, my co-worker also read it and it enjoyed it, so I took a chance. My goodness! This is a book that stays with you long after you've finished. Even now, when I see it in the stores, if I'm with someone who has not read it, I suggest they should. Very, very, good. ( )
  pennylane78 | Sep 6, 2014 |
If you're not the biggest fan of teenage fictions, there is one thing you might want to keep in mind in case you decide to read this book: forget the fact that there was supposed to be a "lesson" in the story. You know, "be nice with other people, pay attention to any signs of distress or change of behavior". Stuff like that. Don't expect an epic thriller, because this book does not follow that style.
The first thing that will probably draw your attention to this book is its format. Sure, there are several books that have more than one narrator, but this one shows a very interesting way of telling a story. It shows the same story in two different points of view, going through different times. One of them is a girl who is, in a way, being bullied by other colleagues because of some mean rumors that started to spread throughout the school. The other is a boy who, in a certain point of his life, interacted with this girl. The said girl had recently committed suicide, but left a bit more than a suicide note: she left behind one map and seven cassette tapes, each one explaining one reason why she killed herself.
The story itself is far from being the best one I've ever read, but it is enticing enough to keep you wanting to know more... until the middle of the book, where the story actually gets slightly disappointing. The narration style that alternates between the girl's reasons and the boy's thoughts about them are, at the very least, quite interesting.

What I didn't really like about the book: the way each reason connected to each other. I mean, in the first tapes I could understand Hannah's reasons for doing what she did, but after a certain point, it started to seem like she wasn't much more than a person eager for some attention than for real help. I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that some people don't know how to handle certain situations because they were raised in a very "closed/protected" environment, and while I do know that some families are truly like that, I don't believe that Hannah, having such strong bonds with her family in the beginning of the book, never thought of bringing up the problem either with them or any other relatives and only recurring to the counselor as the last resort. But then again, I cannot condemn her decision because I know that her attitude is perfectly... possible.

A good book to be read once, perhaps even twice. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
I listened to this book unabridged. It was pretty close to torture by the end. I liked the concept at first and was intrigued. The only reason I finished it was because I didn't have another audio book lined up to listen to in the car and by the time I did... I was close to the end. I HATED the characters and wanted to jump into the story and kill the girl myself. Drama, drama, drama... everyone goes through this in High School and her story was nothing special. How this book got an average of 4 STARS is beyond me. I guess for those teenagers that can sympathize it hit a mark with them? But what kind of message does this book send? Here are legitimate reasons to commit suicide? If that were the case then the human race would cease to exist. Maybe the Author made her this way on purpose and to illicit this exact reaction I have, but I highly doubt it. I found myself yelling out at the radio, "You dumb *!$%, get a grip and stop blaming everyone else for your problems." Maybe if the character had true depression, that would be understandable but they did the opposite and pointed the finger using these "reasons why". Horrible and gives a terrible message in my opinion, plus the writing and dialogue is atrocious. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jay Asherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnstone, JoelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiseman, DebraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Sir?" she repeats. "How soon do you want it to get there?"
But if I wanted a reminder, I could’ve made copies of the tapes or saved the map. But I never want to hear those tapes again, though her voice will never leave my head. And the houses, the streets, and the high school will always be there to remind me.
I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.
I would have helped her if she’d only let me. I would have helped her because I want her to be alive.
Who am I going to see today? Besides me, eight people at this school have already listened to the tapes. Eight people, today, are waiting to see what the tapes have done to me. And over the next week or so, as the tapes move on, I’ll be doing the same to the rest of them.
''After all, how often do we get a second chance?''
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159514188X, Paperback)

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:26 -0400)

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When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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