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Thirteen Reasons Why(HARDBACK EDITION) (edition 2007)

by JAY ASHER

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5,688474750 (4.01)199
HonoluluSprite's review
While reading "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher, and following the story of the dead protagonist, I kept asking things like, “What is wrong with you?” Why does a girl, Hannah is her name, who is so young, pretty, and intelligent decide to take her own life? I was anxious to know, “Why?”

Growing increasingly annoyed, I kept saying, ”But, that’s normal!” as things happened to her. As I continued to grow angry with this young girl, I could not help but think, “You’d better come up with something better than this!” As irritating as her thoughts are from time to time, it’s up the the reader to understand and to grasp Hannah’s issues. Ultimately, for me, it was an internal isolation and loneliness — that feeling you get when you’re in a room full of people but you’re still lonely. It was not a case of, “Nobody will help me!” It was a case of, “Nobody wants to help me.” In her mind anyway.

This book is well written and it is one that picks up speed as it goes. You need to find out WHY? There are two “voices” moving throughout the story as you “listen” to, not only the “voice” of the dead girl telling her story, but to the thoughts of the young man, Clay, who is unwillingly graced with a set of cassette tapes where the story unfolds for him, and for us. The reader can choose to connect to either one of those voices, or both. I ended up hearing them both.

Clay had a crush on Hannah. Hannah is dead. Clay is one of the Thirteen Reasons Why. What? Why? Exactly. The plot thickens and you have to keep reading.

Cassettes? Yep. Using props to propel a story is something every writer needs. What they use, and how they use it, is part of their craft. If you think about the feather in the movie, Forest Gump, you may remember the warm feeling that washed over you at the end of the move when that feather appeared on the screen again. I know that I will never look at a cassette tape the same way again. Clever use and a perfect choice, Jay!

Jay Asher can slap me for this but I don’t care. As I was reading I felt what he wrote and I connected with his characters (even though I’m much older). Isn’t that what being a writer is all about? I give this book a grade of “A“ for pissing me off, making me laugh, and most importantly, for making me cry. I would give the book an “A+” but I still need a good reason why, Hannah!

Young adult? I would recommend this book to all parents, all teachers, all counselors, and all social workers. I don’t know that I would suggest it for students — unless it was a class project where everyone talked about it and wrote a paragraph for their teacher everyday. I would be too afraid of the hormones of my students, I think. But, that’s just me. I would love to use it as an assignment, if I were a teacher, but I would be so afraid. The author is braver than I! ( )
  HonoluluSprite | Oct 20, 2010 |
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With those glorious reviews
and high ratings from the
readers. I thought this was
going to be a blast but it
turned out not. And I always
have this soft spot when it
comes to death/suicide. But
what I got was disapointment.
The thirteen reasons why
Hannah Barker committed
suicide were merely childish.
I mean she took her own life
just because people didn't do
good things to her, someone
used her, made fun of her,
stole her notes, or whatever
the reasons were. Everyone
experienced the same thing.
Even worst. I was annoyed by
it. But the idea of how this
book created was great. And
also there was this little touch
of romance which was cute. ( )
  Perco | Oct 11, 2014 |
There is not a whole lot I can say about this book that has not already been written, but I read it on suggestion of my 13 year old niece (we are very close), after there was a very serious suicide attempt at her school by a girl she knew (but not well). It is easy to forget how incredibly painful rumor, gossip and outright lies can be at that age, but it is important we listen, as the reality is that in the age of technology, kids are experiencing these horrors faster and sooner and sadly, globally. One rumor can spread like wildfire to the other side of the country in about two minutes; and destroy a reputation and life. So this book seems like a noble attempt to educate on the reality behind careless, thoughtless and downright mean behaviors and gossip. It also helped blast open a discussion about suicide, hopelessness and also, kindness between my niece and me. It is far easier for a teenager to talk in the context of another (fictional) person, rather than themselves sometimes. Anyway, it was an interesting book, sad, but real. While the blame was incredibly hard to read, the reality is that is often how kids think, so whether I agreed or not with Hannah's tapes was irrelevant, it surely was real. I felt the plot was a little contrived, especially how the entire accident/party events fell together, but then, it was quite a powerful illustration of the effects of our actions and I think it worked well for that. I have a few doubts whether this puts the seed of suicide in kids' head though, but then again, it is already happening and I tend to feel that it is not anything teenagers these days don't already know. Highly recommended, especially if you have a teenager to chat with about it. I'm grateful my niece opened up her world to me through this book. ( )
  CarolynSchroeder | Oct 6, 2014 |
I really loved this book, this was one book that made me really cry in a while. I would really recommend this! It's a realistic book, that teens and Adults should read.

Just one thing keeps on bothering me, some of the negative reviews. I keep reading "This isn't why you should commit suicide, it encourages suicide, I would never do this etc" the point is you are NOT Hannah. You are NOT supposed to relate to a character, simply understand. People handle things differently, and yes guilt/rape/helplessness are some of the reasons why people commit suicide. The character Hannah was vulnerable from the start, she was weaker than most - look at it from her perspective, and not your own. people are DIFFERENT. No matter what reason it is, I Would NOT commit suicide, but that's because I'm much stronger than Hannah. I'm me. And she is Hannah. I would not judge her for committing suicide. She had no one to turn to, she was helpless. Although, she could have told Clay the truth but people are afraid. If you "strong willed" people cannot understand that, then it is just sad. Suicide should never be an option, but when people do commit it - you should understand why they did it and who was responsible more than the victim. So judgmental. Imagine if this was a true story, and the victim was aware of these comments? Really sad what people are saying. ( )
  benishkhanx | Sep 26, 2014 |
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.

Overall

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 |
Dieses Buch hat mich zutiefst berührt, sprachlos und nachdenklich zurückgelassen. Ich glaube nicht, dass es mich in absehbarer Zeit wieder los lassen wird. Ich bin nicht der Typ, der besonders gut im Rezensionen schreiben ist; besonders wenn es sich um positive Kritiken handelt, wird es extrem schwierig. Deswegen weise ich lieber noch einmal auf die Rezension hin, die mich dazu gebracht hat, dieses Hörbuch auszuleihen: http://lokuszeit.heldenblog.net/?p=354. ( )
  Telaara_Dunwin | Aug 10, 2014 |
3
  aweinel | Jul 14, 2014 |
This book makes you think about how your actions can affect other people and how it makes them feel. 5Q3P, (sadly I think this book isn't as popular as it should be). The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend it to middle school and high school students as well as adults. I chose to read this book because I heard about it from other people that it was good and have been waiting to get a chance to read it. BreB
  edspicer | Jul 5, 2014 |
This book is about a girl named Hannah who committed suicide, and also about the narrator named Clay.

I have a love/hate relationship with this book because I find the story very unique and riveting. I could not put the book down and I stayed up all night reading the book.

There’s something about this book that makes me want to keep turning the pages to find out the ending real quick. The characters in the story compliments each other in a dark and creepy way,

which makes the book interesting.On the other hand the thing that bothers me about this book is the fact that she committed suicide, it just makes me so uneasy that someone commits suicide at such a young age.

I know that this is a real and on going issue withing teenagers and that the problems presented in this book may sound shallow for someone to commit suicide. But bullying and sexual harassment/advances are big

issues that most teenagers faces and in a lot of cases they tend to just keep quiet and keep to themselves because they are afraid of what people would think of them or that people would judge them instead of helping and

understanding. This book can help raise awareness on the issues such as suicide, bullying, rape among students. And hopefully by raising awareness we can prevent suicide among the teenage population.

All in all its a really good book and very well written. ( )
  ladyangelica | Jun 27, 2014 |
This book is an absolute page-turner! It's a really emotional book and an astounding too. It's a tough-but-must-read! ( )
  PamZaragoza | Jun 27, 2014 |
This book crushed my heart.

It is the story of a typical high schooler named Clay. Clay is that nice guy in high school nobody has a bad thing to say about. When Clay finds a box of cassette tapes in the mail he doesn't know they will change his life forever. Recorded on those tapes are the story of Hannah, his classmate who killed herself a few weeks before. Hannah, the girl that Clay always wanted to know better but never got up the courage to talk to because she had a reputation.

Hannah breaks your heart as she gives thirteen reasons why she killed herself and the names of thirteen people who pushed her over the edge. I found myself glued to Hannah's story. Even though you knew she had already committed suicide you felt like she was alive again and that somehow you could make a difference in the outcome of her life. Asher does such a good job of getting into her head, making you feel like you are simultaneously both Clay and Hannah. I cried at the end with Clay because I felt the pain of losing her again. It's one of those books both beautiful and sad. It really makes you think about how your actions affect others.

I highly recommend this book. I also recommend it in audio book format because they use two different narrators for Clay and Hannah and the results are powerful. You feel like you are listening to her tapes with Clay. ( )
4 vote RosyLibrarian | Jun 6, 2014 |
Everyone needs to read Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Everyone needs to know how words and actions can hurt the people. I loved this book. I could not put this book down. I still can't believe it ended this way, with him saying a name that wasn't in the book until the last chapter. I will admit, their are a few weird parts, like why would you put that in a book?

The main character, Clay, is an innocent high schooler. But one thing, his crush committed suicide two weeks before he listened to the tapes. The tapes full of answers and secrets that should not be told and people that do and don't deserve to be on these tapes. Clay follows a map all over town, to where Hannah, the girl who committed suicide, went and is involved in the tapes.

Clay tries long and hard to get away from people to listen to these emotional tapes. Thirteen tapes and he can't stand knowing what tape he is on. Little did he know, his best friend, Tony, was linked to these tapes, Hannah gave them to him before dying. Tony is the kind of friend that will be there and will know if something is wrong. I believe that this author wrote this book due to all the bullying that happens and this is what happens when people are rude and don't mind their own business then spread rumors around. The was I see it, if you know someone who is getting bullied, do something, don't be a by stander and watch it happen, no one wants another Hannah Baker.

I had many questions at the beginning of the book. What did Clay do to Hannah? Why did Hannah kill herself? Why does Clay want to be alone? And I still have questions. You need to read this book, tell your friends and family. This book needs a label saying "MUST READ". I loved it and I know everyone else will too.
  br14chbo | Jun 5, 2014 |
The premise was intriguing and I was curious about where the book would lead, but honestly I just didn't like the story. I didn't feel the anguish one would expect from this character...at all. ( )
  AlexTully | Jun 4, 2014 |
A compelling read that should be on the reading list for high school freshmen. It's the story of a teen suicide, who tells her 13 reasons why she killed herself on tapes sent to the 13 people who -- mostly unknowingly -- led her to feel invisible and unattached to the world. The story is told through her voice on the tapes and by a boy she had hopes could become a boyfriend... and his thoughts and feelings on how she pushed him away and how he had given up on her. Yes, some cliches and other writing tricks to move the story along, but engaging and powerful -- and certainly a book that fosters discussion about a taboo subject. ( )
  Randall.Hansen | May 3, 2014 |
This is a simply astounding book about the reasons why a girl decided to end her own life. The book opens your eyes on certain issues that can build up in a teenagers life. People always wonder why things like this happen, well this book is your inside look. It is amazing. I feel like all teenagers should read it! I loved it! ( )
  CMJohnson | Apr 29, 2014 |
A very poignant and at times excruciating tale of why a teenage girl chooses to end her life, along with the circumstances and people who added to her decision. This book should be a must read for high school students, because it helps people understand just how one little event can snowball, and how what looks like such a minor thing can be part of a huge, almost incomprehensible problem.



It also shows how people can ignore what's right in front of them, until it's too late. While there wasn't really a happy ending, there was a more hopeful one. If Clay can save another person's life, and reading this book can help suicidal teens, then it was worth all the pain and misery listening to Hannah's story and reading the book created.



The biggest tragedy wasn't the beginning, but how Mr. Porter ignored Hannah at the very end. He could see the tell tale signs and ignored them. He had her life in his hands and he could have changed things...and didn't.



Easily one of the best books I've read in a long time.



( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
A very poignant and at times excruciating tale of why a teenage girl chooses to end her life, along with the circumstances and people who added to her decision. This book should be a must read for high school students, because it helps people understand just how one little event can snowball, and how what looks like such a minor thing can be part of a huge, almost incomprehensible problem.



It also shows how people can ignore what's right in front of them, until it's too late. While there wasn't really a happy ending, there was a more hopeful one. If Clay can save another person's life, and reading this book can help suicidal teens, then it was worth all the pain and misery listening to Hannah's story and reading the book created.



The biggest tragedy wasn't the beginning, but how Mr. Porter ignored Hannah at the very end. He could see the tell tale signs and ignored them. He had her life in his hands and he could have changed things...and didn't.



Easily one of the best books I've read in a long time.



( )
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
Highly disturbing presmise (especially in light of the fact it's a book for teens!), but definitely a page turner. ( )
  KatieCarella | Apr 12, 2014 |
As a parent of two teenagers, my daughter strongly encouraged me to read this book. I realize that there is not much more to add as far as detailed reviews of this book goes, but I will just restate again: This book is also recommended reading for parents, too. Seriously...if your teen is asking you to read a book, you should be happy they are letting you in their world. Read it! ( )
  elleayess | Mar 30, 2014 |
Thirteen Reasons Why was a phenomenal book that, although fiction, allows readers to see the aspect of suicide from the actual committer's point of view. The author did a great job in incorporating the use of an old voice recorder and cassette tapes to pass on the story of Hannah Baker. Jay Asher writes in a way that really engages the reader and has you sucked right into the book, as if you're one of the by-standing characters. I would definitely recommend this book to all teenagers out there, and encourage those who may be going through tough times to realize Hannah's mistake, and instead of giving up on themselves, to seek out the available help. ( )
  ohheyyitsminjee | Mar 21, 2014 |
There aren't many books that get me so hooked, that I can't put it down. This one kept me turning the pages. Excellent and emotional read. ( )
  bookish92 | Mar 20, 2014 |
I picked up Thirteen Reasons Why because I kept seeing it pop up on lists of “must read” books. I was a little hesitant about it at first because suicide isn’t really a subject matter I’m generally interested in reading about. Also, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the premise as it almost sounded like the book was justifying placing blame for the decision to commit suicide on those who Hannah felt wronged her. But instead, the book gave a very realistic look at how thoughtless words and actions can have a very real effect on someone's life.

The story revolves around two central characters. Hanna, who commits suicide after recording a series of tapes giving all of her reasons and sending them to the people she feels were a large factor in that decision, and Clay, who is one of the recipients of these tapes. Hanna’s voice is powerful and compelling as she relives some of the worst moments of her life. I was so impressed at the way the author was able to convey the sense of trapped isolation Hannah was feeling and how things just kept snowballing. But at the same time, the author showed how Hannah’s choices contributed to that breakdown. I loved Clay’s character. It was his story that really touched my heart. The way he reacted to what he was hearing, visiting each scene as Hanna related her experiences to better feel what she was saying and where she was both physically and emotionally when she was living these moments. The insight that went into creating this novel was nothing less than incredible.

Each cassette focused on a particular person or incident and how one situation fit into or affected the next. In the author's own words, a "snowball effect" that lead to Hannah making this most final of decisions. I think that this is a great book to open a dialog about feeling overwhelmed and helpless, as so many teenagers do. I think, as adults, we forget sometimes how intensely teenagers feel things and how tough some of the social aspects of school can be. I would love to see this book used to initiate discussions about these things, both with parents as well as in the schools themselves.

I can only rate this a five and also consider this a must read for everyone, all ages. ( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
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