Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher
Pages: 304
Pub: 2007; Razorbill (Penguin)
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Etc: Check out the website: Thirteen Reasons Why

The Short of It

Haunting voice identifies pain and despair. 

The Long of It

Hannah Baker kills herself. And maybe it was unexpected and maybe her friends would have questioned why…  But she doesn’t really give them an opportunity to ask questions. Through a pre-recorded tape she shares thirteen moments in her life that changed her.  Thirteen reasons why she could never be the person she felt she was inside.  Thirteen people who hurt her in ways that perhaps they didn’t even realize.  Like a bad chain letter, these tapes end up in the hands of every person mentioned on the recording.

The Thoughts about It

Whoa!  How’d I wait this long to read this book?  And god, what are even the RIGHT things to say about it?  Thirteen Reasons Why is an emotional experience.  I read it during the read-a-thon and literally had to step away from books while I brought myself back to the present. 

Some thoughts: many of the suicidal warning signs were there but overlooked.  Maybe because some are unassuming, maybe because most are not aware enough to call a spade a spade, who knows. 

I do know that this is perhaps THE BEST book I’ve ever read dealing with suicide.  Following Clay Jensen through his whole process of the tapes grounded the tale.  I travelled with him as he followed Hannah’s walk.  I ached every time he anticipated hearing his name on the tapes.

I am desperate to get my hands on the audio version of this book.  


  1. So glad you liked this book as I also thought it was fantastic! I think the characters and events are so well done and it doesn't point the finger at any one person. I think Asher did a great job at showing how life builds on itself, especially when teens are invovled

  2. This was one of my favorite YA books last year! I absolutely loved the way Asher handled all the characters. I think this book was an honest look at the problems facing teens today, and hopefully helps open some positive dialogue.

  3. Interestingly, I re-read this (or re-listened, since the second time was in audio), and while the production was good, I found a lot more flaws in the book the second time around. I wish I'd listened the first time, honestly.

  4. I have been wanting to read this forever. I don't know what I'm waiting for either but sounds like I really need to read this!

  5. A couple of years ago, when i was working at the other school, I taught an at-risk study skill class. Part of their requirement was to read for 20 minutes of the 70 minute period. I told them they could read whatever they wanted-books, manga, magazines, but they had to read.

    There was one student who never read anything, so when i saw her with this book, I asked her about it. She said her mom took her to the bookstore and bought her the book (it was the first book she ever owned).

    I bought it that weekend and read it in one sitting. It made me sob at the end and I was so emotionally torn up about the story I wasn't myself for days after.

    When she finally finished it, we sat and talked about it. It changed her as much as it did me.

    Such a powerful story that is truly haunting.

  6. This book really affected me and I thought about it for ages afterwards. I thought it made a really great read and I think I read it in two sittings. Like Allie, I sobbed through the end of the book. It really had me thinking about things I did and said when I was younger and whether they could have affected someone in some way. I need to get a copy of the audiobook!

  7. I just checked out the audio version yesterday. I hear it's excellent.

  8. Agreed--one of the best books I've read on teen suicide as well. I listened to this one and you MUST listen to it. I'm not sure I would have felt the power just reading it--it's haunting, really.


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