Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

The #1"New York Times"bestseller and modern classic that's been changing lives for a decade gets a gorgeous revamped cover and special additional content. "You can't stop the future." "You can't rewind the past." "The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play." Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch....

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Title:Thirteen Reasons Why
Author:Jay Asher
Rating:
ISBN:1595147888
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:336 pages

Thirteen Reasons Why Reviews

  • stephanie
    Mar 17, 2008

    this is also the perfect book to listen to on audiotape. usually i am annoyed with audiobooks, but i enjoyed listening to this one almost as much as reading it, because i was hearing hannah while driving in my car, much the same way clay was. still love this book and it's boldness.

    *

    for everyone that thinks hannah's suicide was unbelievable, or that the reasons were just stupid and petty, take a moment and think about how what happened

    have been the impetus for suicide. it's no

    this is also the perfect book to listen to on audiotape. usually i am annoyed with audiobooks, but i enjoyed listening to this one almost as much as reading it, because i was hearing hannah while driving in my car, much the same way clay was. still love this book and it's boldness.

    *

    for everyone that thinks hannah's suicide was unbelievable, or that the reasons were just stupid and petty, take a moment and think about how what happened

    have been the impetus for suicide. it's not the whole story, of course. hannah tells us that herself. but people who commit suicide aren't just people that have been raped, abused, are poverty stricken, gang members, or sufferers of PTSD. too many adolescents kill themselves out of a depression that spirals in the SAME WAY hannah's does. too many adults do. and look at the suicide statistics if you don't think this is an important book.

    *

    yep, i broke down and bought it.

    and i am SO GLAD that i did.

    you guys, ALL OF YOU, read this now. i'm so not joking. this is one of the best books about adolescents and real life and how things can snowball that i have ever read.

    not to mention this is the best, best, portrayal of true suicidality that i have come across - in all genres.

    here's clay jensen, with a stack of tapes that arrive on his door. seven tapes, with a number painted in nail-polish on each corner. seven tapes from the dead hannah baker, who was clay's total crush. hannah baker, who killed herself with pills.

    the genius is that the act of suicide itself is not glorified. at all. it's not an impulsive suicide, despite what people may have thought, and that's part of why i think i appreciate this book so much. for people that are truly, and deeply, and clinically depressed, it's not really impulsive. it's a series of things that lead one to believe that it's just not going to get better.

    and that's exactly what happens to hannah. things that seem small and petty or not even memorable build in the head of someone who is already fragile. she isn't melodramatic about it, she's to the point. sometimes she's angry, sometimes she's sad, and sometimes she's brutally honest with herself - she knows that her actions are selfish, she knows that there were places she could have made things different and didn't. she knows where she closed the doors that might have been opening, and where she opened the ones she should have left shut.

    i love hannah baker. i love clay jensen. i love these characters for their emotional vulnerability and honesty, for the way the story is told in pieces that all weave together in the end, for the fact there is no pandering to the reader, or condescension. that even in the end, even after hannah decided, there was one last chance. that this was thought out and thoughtful and not just a look at how people deal with the aftermath of a suicide, but how a suicide might be the end point.

    i really cannot say enough about this book. i want to quote whole passages, i want to make so many people read it. it is SUCH an accurate portrayal it breaks my heart.

    when hannah wants to disappear into the mist, and the decision for the way she wants to kill herself - her difficulty in even saying the word "suicide" in the beginning - it's just. not wanting her parents to find her hanging. thinking about making it look like an accident by crashing a car.

    people may think what hannah did, by leaving the tapes, was super vindictive and mean. i do think there was an element of that to her recording everything - it's true to her character. but more than that, i think hannah wanted people to know how things spiral so far out of control, and how seemingly small interpersonal interactions can have such amazing consequences.

    more than anything, i think hannah wanted to leave her own answer to "why do people commit suicide" and "signs to watch out for".

    and i think she did a pretty damn good job. this is amazingly brilliant.

    just completely blew me away. so go read it. now.

  • Hannah
    Oct 24, 2009

    I figured this deserved a real review.

    I'm a bipolar chick. I'm a girl who has struggled with suicidal thoughts since she was nine years old at the very latest. And I just do not buy 13RW's representation of a suicidal girl. The very premise of the book is flawed to me; you don't kill yourself for REASONS, you kill yourself because there is a bug in your brain gnawing at you and sucking out any valuable thought you've ever had, and I never saw that kind of bug in Hannah. I saw a girl who killed h

    I figured this deserved a real review.

    I'm a bipolar chick. I'm a girl who has struggled with suicidal thoughts since she was nine years old at the very latest. And I just do not buy 13RW's representation of a suicidal girl. The very premise of the book is flawed to me; you don't kill yourself for REASONS, you kill yourself because there is a bug in your brain gnawing at you and sucking out any valuable thought you've ever had, and I never saw that kind of bug in Hannah. I saw a girl who killed herself because boys were mean to her, and I think that if you reversed the sexes and made it a boy who killed himself for Hannah's reasons, no one would have bought it.

    It's a symptom of a larger epidemic you see all the times in discussions of girls with mental illness. Boys are legitimately fucked up and have genuine struggles with mental health, but girls are hysterical. Hannah's depression is entirely circumstantial, as is her suicide, and I just do not buy it.

    Not to mention I think it's a complete cop-out to have Clay be the only guy on the list who didn't fuck her up. Of COURSE the narrator didn't screw up, right?

    It was compelling, I'll give it that. I read it in one night about five years ago.

  • Nina ♥
    Jun 27, 2010

    REVIEW: I don't know why this book is so popular. And I honestly don't know what all the rave is about. I heard so many great things about this novel, that's why I read it. While this was a good book, well written and all…the plot was just not good enough—no, the reasons leading to Hannah Baker killing herself were not believable enough for me. I mean sure, t

    REVIEW: I don't know why this book is so popular. And I honestly don't know what all the rave is about. I heard so many great things about this novel, that's why I read it. While this was a good book, well written and all…the plot was just not good enough—no, the reasons leading to Hannah Baker killing herself were not believable enough for me. I mean sure, they did some horrible things to her in high school, that doesn't mean you should just go off and commit suicide. As far as I'm concerned, those kinds of situations happen to everyone. And I don't believe for one second that no one noticed that she wanted to commit suicide. What about her haircut? Didn't the author mention that the teacher passed out a flyer called "The Warning Signs of a Suicidal Individual?" And wasn't there "A sudden change in appearance" on top of the list? What about "Giving away possessions?" Didn't they discuss suicide in the same class? Didn't Hannah leave an anonymous note telling the teacher that? After she told Mr. Porter? And he didn't stop her? Come on, they couldn't have been that dumb! Hannah, above all, just sounded whiny. And I just couldn't sympathize with her character. And committing suicide and then blaming people for it is just a stupid excuse for killing herself. She was the one that decided to kill herself, not them—not anyone. She just needed someone to blame. And poor Clay! If Clay wasn't one of the reasons Hannah killed herself, then why put him through the agony? Why give him the tapes? She could've just written him a letter. And Tony! Hannah put even the ones that had nothing to do with her in pain. For example: what did Tony do to her? Because I know he was hurting, too. He felt helpless because he couldn't have saved her.

    It was also very difficult and confusing to keep up with what Clay and Hannah said/thought. One second I'm reading in Clay's point of view, the next Hannah's. And sometimes I had to reread a whole paragraph because I got the POV wrong in my head.

    Also, I think suicide is a very serious issue so I didn't really buy Jay Asher's portrayal of Hannah's feelings. If someone wanted to commit suicide, their emotion had to be deeper, stronger than just hatred and petty resentment for having a bad reputation in High School. Therefore, I thought Hannah's emotions weren't very serious, even childish and overly dramatic at times. And after finishing the books I was like, "seriously?! That's why she killed herself?!" I honestly felt like Asher was making fun of the teens who have been through terrible things in their life and are still trying to stay strong after everything they've been through. This was like telling them, "what the heck, end your life if you're so miserable."

    : Just found out this is going to be a movie. Starring Selena Gomez.

    Also, if you want to know more about Hannah's reasons, read

    .

  • Janina
    Aug 31, 2010

    When I tried to structure my thoughts to write this review, I discovered that it’s actually very hard to write something about a book I liked but didn’t love. I definitely have no hard feelings towards

    but I also don’t really have anything to rave about. Which makes me feel a little conflicted about the rating. This book will stay with me for a while, it made me

    , but it also had its flaws.

    I thought the novel was based on an original and great concept. We have a simulta

    When I tried to structure my thoughts to write this review, I discovered that it’s actually very hard to write something about a book I liked but didn’t love. I definitely have no hard feelings towards

    but I also don’t really have anything to rave about. Which makes me feel a little conflicted about the rating. This book will stay with me for a while, it made me

    , but it also had its flaws.

    I thought the novel was based on an original and great concept. We have a simultaneous narration: We get to hear Hannah’s thoughts through the tapes she recorded, and mixed with that, we see how Clay reacts to the things she says. While that is without doubt the perfect way to tell this story (that can probably be enjoyed even more in an audiobook format), I sometimes found it hard to distinguish their voices. I read a sentence, and when I went over it too quickly, I sometimes had to check back if it was in bold or italic to find out who actually said what. While Clay certainly was a sweet guy, I found him to be almost too nice to be true and compared with Hannah, his character and voice felt rather flat.

    Also, I expected this story to make me sad and touch me deeply because, after all, it is a story about missed opportunities, about a life ending much too soon, about guilt and grief. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

    But, all in all, despite the fact that I wasn’t really emotionally invested, I simply HAD to know exactly what drove Hannah over the edge. I wanted to know her story, to get an idea what made her feel so depressed and alone. I read in quite some reviews that people thought her reasons to commit suicide were shallow. I don’t agree with that at all. They were

    reasons and nobody else’s, and I think that she shouldn’t be judged by them. People don’t always have this big reason behind their decisions. Sometimes small things add up to each other, and when you suffer from depression, as Hannah clearly did, even everyday life can be too much for you to take. It can make everything feel like a chore.

    Yet, I also found it difficult to understand why Hannah went to such lengths to record her tapes and make sure everybody received them. It seemed to be more about getting back at the people who hurt her than about closure and explanation. Those people did her wrong, no question, but do they deserve what they got? Do they deserve to live with the guilt of being responsible for Hannah’s death? I’m not sure. But this book definitely showed me that even small things we do (or don’t do) can have a huge impact on somebody else’s life, and that sometimes we should take more time to try to understand the people we deal with everyday – be it at school or somewhere else.

    But all things considered, I’m glad that

    didn’t portray Hannah as a victim. She also had her faults, made wrong decisions and – in the end – gave up.

    Now I’m still pondering over one question: What is actually worse? Knowing exactly why somebody killed himself and what role you yourself played in his decision? Or living with the fact that you will never find out what caused his suicide and that your questions will never be answered?

    #4 TBR Pile Reduction Challenge (Brooke)

  • karen
    Sep 22, 2010

    oh god, somebody buy this girl some perspective! oh wait, you can't because she's dead. and i, for one, am glad of it because this character would have grown up to be a rotten judgmental schoolmarmy horrorshow of an adult. just horrible.

    and people love this book like cookies!

    backtrack. plot: a girl kills herself. but before she goes, she makes a series of audio cassettes and mails them to an individual, with instructions to pass them along to the next person mentioned on the tapes, which are a c

    oh god, somebody buy this girl some perspective! oh wait, you can't because she's dead. and i, for one, am glad of it because this character would have grown up to be a rotten judgmental schoolmarmy horrorshow of an adult. just horrible.

    and people love this book like cookies!

    backtrack. plot: a girl kills herself. but before she goes, she makes a series of audio cassettes and mails them to an individual, with instructions to pass them along to the next person mentioned on the tapes, which are a chronicle of all the things that were done to her that made her kill herself. it was because of you. and you. and you. the blame game, afterlife edition. what a dick, right?

    and i understand the idea of cause and effect, and that teenagers of all people, need to be more conscious of the effects their actions have on the feeeeelings of others, and this book is meant to highlight that even the smallest things can have a profound effect on a person's life, but ugh - this character is appalling. and does she not realize the effect her accusations are going to have on the recipients of the tapes?? because it is a shitty thing to do when people can't defend themselves, particularly since the awful tragic things that happened to her are pretty standard stuff we have all been through. mostly. nothing suicide-worthy, frankly. and nothing to make other people feel shitty about for the rest of their lives.

    when you are sitting on the same side of a booth at a diner with a boy on valentines day and you are laughing and you put your head on his shoulder and he puts his hand on your leg, that is not a problem, it is called flirtation. and if you don't like it, use your words, and if that doesn't work, get physical. which she does. and succeeds. so what's with all the boo-hoos?? that no one came to your rescue?? princess, no one is

    going to come to your rescue. you did what you were supposed to do - feel proud and call it a day. a somewhat shitty day, but no reason to kill yourself.

    she basically uses her suicide to scold boys who have

    with her or tried to hook up with her.or said she had a nice ass. these are teenagers! they are going to try to hook up with anything that is still breathing! i have dodged many an unwanted advance in my early years, and i have exhaustedly given in to others as the path of least resistance, but that's youth, right? chalk everything up to a learning experience and laugh about it in your adulthood.

    are we supposed to feel that she is empowered for taking her life? because i don't. i fel like she had a normal sized problem that she willingly made a little bigger in a hot tub, but honestly, suburban new hampshire white girl, here is a book called

    . go read that and tell me you have problems.

    i know i gave this three stars, and it is because i did like the way the story was told, as a split-narrative between the transcripts of the tapes, and the voice of a boy who is one of the accused, as we wait for his part in it to unfold, as he wonders what she thinks he did to her (anticlimax, btw). but so as a plot-driven quasi-mystery book, it definitely held my interest, but the whole time, i couldn't help thinking what a brat she was and how unfair some of her accusations were, particularly to the narrator and the last recipient of the tapes. sheesh. brat.

    (if she heard me say that, she would try really hard to come back to life so she could make me a tape telling me how i wounded her soul and then she would kill herself again to make me feel guilty. but i would not.)

  • Giselle
    Jul 07, 2011

    I absolutely loved this book. What an eye opener. In Thirteen Reasons Why we listen to audio tapes that was sent to 13 people by Hannah who committed suicide, to explain her reasons why.

    First I want to mention that to all the reviewers who say that her reasons weren't "good enough" for her to kill herself, you're wrong. Everyone doesn't cope with situations the same way, and problems that may seem minimalistic to you, can send the next person into depression. We all have our own ways of working

    I absolutely loved this book. What an eye opener. In Thirteen Reasons Why we listen to audio tapes that was sent to 13 people by Hannah who committed suicide, to explain her reasons why.

    First I want to mention that to all the reviewers who say that her reasons weren't "good enough" for her to kill herself, you're wrong. Everyone doesn't cope with situations the same way, and problems that may seem minimalistic to you, can send the next person into depression. We all have our own ways of working through our issues, and some have a much harder time than others. These were her reasons to commit suicide, which were enough for her, who are we to judge?

    Personally I thought it was amazingly done and very realistic. There weren't any embellishments or glorifications, it was true portrayal of teen suicide. We go through the story with Clay while he is listening to Hannah's tapes. The narration goes back and forth between the tapes and what Clay is doing/thinking. I really though this was a great way to pace the story and build up the suspense. And every single page is full of suspense. I really could have stayed up all night reading it.

    The story contains a lot of emotions; Intense and raw emotions. We go through them with Hannah as well as Clay, simultaneously. Hearing her tapes makes us realize that our actions, however small, can have a whirlwind of an effect on others. Yes, sending those tapes may have been a little mean. But obviously there was a lot going on with Hannah and she needed to get this out. I don't condone her for it, but I can understand why she thought it necessary.

    It's not an easy subject to talk about, and suicide is not something to take lightly. Asher did an amazing job of taking a sensitive subject and writing a very touching, mesmerizing novel.

  • Alex Dembrowsky-henry
    Aug 25, 2011

    Hannah, the girl who killed herself, and Clay, the boy she sent her "suicide note" tapes to, were fairly believable and well-drawn individuals. But everyone else in the story seems interchangeable, with motivations that are never made clear or seem to constantly switch to serve the purposes of the plot. I couldn't tell the difference between Courtney Crimson and Jessica and Mr. Porter, if there was one, and I couldn'

    Hannah, the girl who killed herself, and Clay, the boy she sent her "suicide note" tapes to, were fairly believable and well-drawn individuals. But everyone else in the story seems interchangeable, with motivations that are never made clear or seem to constantly switch to serve the purposes of the plot. I couldn't tell the difference between Courtney Crimson and Jessica and Mr. Porter, if there was one, and I couldn't keep track of what they did to Hannah. They seemed like a stock supporting cast of high school kids and teachers that Asher picked out of a hat.

    Hannah blames everyone else for her problems, then kills herself and drags everyone else into her misery too. Sure, she went through some rough stuff, but was it really that much worse than what most high schoolers deal with, and get over? She's like a vengeful harpy, tormenting those she blames for pushing her over the edge and haunting them from beyond the grave. She's like a combination of the Ghost of Christmas Past and Holden Caulfield, for the Disney Channel generation. What a great role model for kids.

    Like I said, Hannah and Clay are somewhat believable characters, but they often speak - and think - in ways that no teenager does. There's way too much of Clay "talking" to Hannah in his head (along the lines of, "Hannah, why did you do that?" repeated ad nauseum). And Hannah's always saying stuff like "I bet you wonder how you fit into all of this… well, you'll soon find out!" BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!

    The dialogue and action in this book are ridiculously exaggerated and overwrought, even by the histrionic standards of young adult fiction. There's almost no subtlety. I mean, I know teenagers love drama, but does Asher have to telegraph every emotion, every twist in the plot, with a metaphorical exclamation point? It's like a Lifetime movie about suicide. The literary equivalent of a shitty, screamy emo song.

    This kind of dovetails with the points above, but… I really don't understand how this got a good review from anyone over the age of 16. There's way too much telling and not enough showing in this book. It almost reads like it was written by a high schooler, minus the authenticity.

    I read this book the day after I read Alexie's infinitely superior

    . The contrast between the two young adult novels couldn't be more clear. Alexie's is a realistic, clever, and often heartbreaking story of what it means to grow up as an outcast that ultimately transcends its setting and resonates across generations and backgrounds. Asher's is an overcooked, amateurishly written, poorly realized picture of overdramatic suburban kids chasing their own tails into oblivion.

    I'll admit, this one had me going, even after I realized I was being taken for a ride and didn't much like it, I kept reading. Partly because I was reading it while substitute teaching an English class where all the kids were reading too, so I had nothing better to do. But I was also really hoping the ending would redeem some of the shortcomings and make it worthwhile. Nope. It just fizzles out. Big waste of time.

    When I first read about this book and its basic narrative conceit, I was intrigued. Sure, the plot structure is very high-concept, but so was Slaughterhouse-Five. And the basic message of the story, that one small action or remark can have huge and possibly terrible repercussions in another person's life, is certainly true and a lesson than every teenager should learn. It makes for a great cover and book jacket. Too bad everything in between sucks. Asher should have written a synopsis and then handed it off to somebody with some talent.

    No further explanation needed.

    Pretty much dripping from every page of this thing is the smug sense of self-satisfaction Asher must have felt while writing it. In the age of cyber-bullying and sexting, teen suicide is becoming an even more complicated and difficult issue. But this book doesn't really have anything new, insightful, or helpful to say about it.

    Hannah kills herself for reasons that, to put it bluntly, are bullshit. A few rumors? A car accident she was only tangentially connected to? Witnessing a date rape? All of these are traumatic to varying degrees, but none of them are likely reasons someone would off themselves. As somebody who's worked with kids with mental illness, who've suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, this whole thing just strained credibility. Hannah's way too self-assured and in touch with her emotions to be suicidal. Kids who try to kill themselves do so either in a period of extreme emotional upheaval or because there is a terrible, relentless drumbeat within their beings that sucks the joy out of existence. Never did I get the sense that Hannah felt this way. She seemed to want to kill herself as a kind of performance art, or to get back at the people who wronged her, which is definitely not why most kids do it.

    To continue with the point above, this book really does a disservice to the perception of kids who are seriously ill and need help. It presents suicide as a choice made by whiny kids who bring most of their problems on themselves and do it as a kind of revenge on the world. Like I said, this is not why most kids do it. They are seriously fucked up, either by brain chemistry, drugs, or terrible experiences in their past, the kind of stuff that Hannah never even comes close to. Sure, there are kids who kill themselves because of being bullied, or called sluts, or whatever, but even in those cases the trauma is much more severe than it was here. Asher either doesn't have the guts to portray depression, abuse, and suicide the way they really are, or (more likely) he doesn't know much about them, but wanted to get famous writing a book about it anyways.

    I know this is a serious charge to make, but hear me out for a second. Throughout the book, Asher makes all the rather trivial stuff that happens to Hannah seem like a huge deal. Now, to be fair, the kind of moderate bullying Hannah endures would seem terrible to a suburban high schooler who hasn't dealt with much worse. But nowhere in the book does Asher try to show his teenage readers that such stuff is, in fact, extremely trivial and not worth getting your panties in a bunch over, that there is a big, beautiful world just past the edge of the strip malls and subdivisions of suburban rot if only they'd quit navel gazing for a minute, and none of that high school shit is worth killing oneself over. I'm not saying young adult books have to be all sunshine and rainbows, far from it, but if you're gonna read a book for kids about suicide, at least give some compelling reasons not to do it. Instead, he almost validates Hannah's actions. The whole book is about thirteen reasons why she killed herself, for chrissakes. Sure, Clay does a lot of hand-wringing and, "why, Hannah, why?" type of stuff, but never is there a moment of true catharsis or even a genuine feeling that thing could get better. Instead, Asher wallows in emo-ness from start to finish because he knows that's what his readers want. Problem is, a particularly depressed reader could easily get the impression that if Hannah killed herself for some pretty petty reasons, than they (who are probably suffering through actual, legitimate shit) should do it to. And that's why I REALLY hated this book, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially teenagers.

  • Beth
    Aug 27, 2011

    I'm one of the very few people who strongly disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, so maybe I should explain to you why.

    I hate Thirteen Reasons Why. And here’s why.

    Most of all, it glamorises suicide.

    I'm putting this at the top because I can't believe I missed it in my original review. And this is a controversial point, because most of my Goodreads friends, whose opinions I would hold up as gospel, loved this book for its realistic and harrowing portrayal of teen suicide.

    This book is one big glamorous m

    I'm one of the very few people who strongly disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, so maybe I should explain to you why.

    I hate Thirteen Reasons Why. And here’s why.

    Most of all, it glamorises suicide.

    I'm putting this at the top because I can't believe I missed it in my original review. And this is a controversial point, because most of my Goodreads friends, whose opinions I would hold up as gospel, loved this book for its realistic and harrowing portrayal of teen suicide.

    This book is one big glamorous monument to Hannah's suicide.

    To me, it feeds the myths that a lot of teens hold about suicide, rather than debunk them.

    Let me start off by saying that all pain is, eventually, temporary. When I think about the worst pain I've ever gone through - depression, painful and invasive surgery, grief - I thoughtn it would never end. But it did. And it always does. Yes, it will hurt like hell. Yes, it will feel as though it's never going to. But, yes, it ends. Eventually. And you have to be strong and extremely brave and honest, but there

    be a day when you will look back on your worst pain and it will be a memory.

    That is why suicide is never the answer.

    So, what's the reason behind this bizarre, obvious, late-night PSA from the brilliant mind of a bat-shit crazy reader from the minority? [hahahaha].

    I think this book encourages suicide.

    There, I said it. I know it's a strong and sweeping and dramatic statement to make. I don't think that Asher wanted it to be that way. I'm not trying to accuse Asher of actively encouraging suicide or anything.

    But.

    I have felt suicidal before. Briefly, never seriously. And yet, the thought that I don't think is that uncommon went something like this:

    Am I projecting my own experiences onto this book? Maybe. But, when you write about something as sensitive as suicide, I think that possibility is always out there.

    This book encourages that line of thinking.

    Let me tell you, emotionally wrecked teenagers: when you are dead, you are freaking

    . You will never grow up. You will never see your parents again. You will never have another moment that makes you feel happy or special in the here and now. You are gone forever.

    But life will go on for those around you. They won't be sorry when you're dead. Or maybe they will be, but you know what? They'll still be alive. They'll still have life. You won't. They'll get to move on. You never will.

    But Hannah Baker kills herself. And it's a dramatic, redemptive, cataclysmic act. Hannah Baker sends the tapes, and she becomes the still point of the turning world. She is Clay's Lost Lenore, the beautiful and romantic and unknowable girl who will live on forever in his memory. Hannah Baker kills herself, and she makes all those people who ever hurt her

    .

    You can tell me that 13RW is all about learning to help the people around us and think about the consequences of our actions. I'm sorry, readers, I love that you guys could get something wonderful and life-affirming and heartbreaking out of this book, but I just couldn't get past the fact that it's

    who teaches these lessons. Hannah dies, and she becomes every romanticised suicide cliché: the omniscient, omnipresent avenging angel, the tragic heroine. And I'm sorry, but that's not how suicide works. As much as Asher pays lip service to the fact that Hannah Baker Didn't Have To Die, well, she kinda did. Because didn't her suicide work out just

    for everybody? Skye might finally get some of Clay's, um, 'help.' The rapist was exposed, the peeping tom was exposed, every person who'd been mean or unfair to Hannah was exposed and made to feel so, so sorry. Everyone learns an Important Lesson, and it's all thanks to Hannah and her decision to kill herself. Hannah

    .

    And, I'm sorry, but you never do. That's just not how it works. In many ways, Hannah is the evil twin of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but instead of living to breathe life into the dull main character, Hannah dies so that she can breathe life into the dull main character and, for all Asher's suicide-helpline advice, I couldn't help but see this as one great propeller of romantic and dangerous teenage myths.

    It’s a clever concept, but it’s fundamentally illogical. Each of the characters have to send it from one ‘reason’ to another; at the end of the book, Clay passes Hannah’s tapes along to the next ‘reason’ on her list. Hannah herself raises the fact that she’s sending it between some people who are guilty of a lesser role – e.g.

    That sounds pretty logical, no? But there’s a couple of huge things ‘wrong’ in the context of the story, although some of them probably reflect more badly on me than they do on the story:

    1) Not all of the tape-receivers are guilty of ‘crimes’ of the same magnitude. In fact, sometimes, there is quite a divide between some of them, e.g. we have

    against a guy who once grabbed Hannah’s ass and one (I think?) who was a friend that she grew away from. Hannah’s logic is that the listeners will keep passing along because of their guilt, and they will not reveal the others’ secrets because they’re culpable, too. But honestly? If I were in the position of one of the guys who grabbed Hannah’s ass, I’d risk people finding out about that in order to spill on the

    . There was a large, large gulf between the minor and the horrible.

    2) Despite the fact that Hannah said she picked on the lesser offenders so they’d pass the tape along, I still don’t understand why some of them would. Guilt? Maybe. But, for the love of GOD, Justin

    Not only is that a crime, it’s also – if I have my society-sense right – one of the worst you can commit. It’s entirely possible that

    could bring charges against him after that, since

    I understand why it wouldn’t get so far, but…really? Mud sticks. There are probably still people in the world who would think ‘I’m not convinced’ if there was watertight evidence showing that a man was

    . A lot of the characters -

    would be taking one hell of a chance if they chose to send it along.

    Hannah is a horrible character. I mean this in two ways. One is that she’s an evil little bitch who I’d really like to punch in the face if she wasn’t dead. Second is that, the way Asher writes her, she’s NOT AT ALL plausible. (At least, not to me.)

    First, let me explain why she’s a horrible little bitch.

    She’s hiding in a closet when

    She does absolutely nothing to intervene. She sees it all and does nothing. Fair enough, she’s too drunk/scared to intervene while it’s actually happening. I can see that. That makes perfect sense to me. It doesn’t necessarily make her a vile person. Would it have been better if she had intervened? Well, sure, but we’re all human. I think we can all understand, to a greater or lesser degree, while she would fear for herself or just not be a fit state to stop it. (Still, she could have called the cops when it was over or something. That’s not really my issue here, though. I have no issue with protagonists who do bad things. I find them really fascinating. I just have an issue with how this was handled.)

    However, Asher does not make ANYTHING of Hannah’s guilt. To me, the last thing you should feel when you’re reading about a suicide is “my God, why is this book so WAH WAH POOR LITTLE ME?” I can’t imagine anything worse than feeling suicidal. But Hannah never gives any indication of guilt or even SYMPATHY towards poor Jessica. All she does is whine on and on about HERSELF, how it affected HER, and yet nothing about how it affected Jessica or even how bad she feels for what she let happen to Jessica.

    Furthermore, Hannah then proceeds to SEND THE TAPE TO JESSICA. And denounces her throughout as one of her ‘thirteen reasons why’: thirteen people who caused her suicide. So, let’s recap.

    How does Hannah handle this? Well, obviously, she tops herself. (Because, you really must understand, HANNAH has been hit hardest by all of this.) Except that, before her death, Hannah makes a tape which she sends around fourteen people

    On this tape, Hannah repeatedly calls Jessica out as one of the reasons why she killed herself and blames Jessica for bad things that happened to her – except that what happened between Jessica and Hannah to end their friendship was so pathetic that I don’t even remember what it was.

    If Jessica hasn’t switched off the tape – and, frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t smash it – by that point, Hannah then went to great pains to

    So, even if Jessica could remember and it wasn’t all horrifying news to her, she then had to deal with the fact that her ex-best friend and crush

    And that said ex-best friend killed herself. And views Jessica as being responsible.

    And, oh yeah, chose to tell thirteen other people about the horrible things that happened.

    As if it was really Hannah’s business.

    So, yes, I hated Hannah. But I hated her most of all because of her unending slamming of Jessica.

    But, worst of all? We’re obviously supposed to see Hannah as the victim in all of this.

    Granted, Clay makes a passing reference to ‘and then Hannah hit [Jessica] with the tapes.’ Brief moral condemnation, check! But, really, at the end of the novel, Hannah is supposed to be the book’s victim. She’s its resounding tragedy. Not Jessica – y’know, the poor

    and now fourteen other people know every detail and she knows they know and they know she knows they know. And she might not have been able to remember any of it in the first place!

    Excuse me while I go throw up.

    Sorry for all my outraged repetition up there. Just didn’t feel that I’d quite hammered the point home.

    Unlike some people, though, I didn’t inherently mind the fact that Hannah hadn’t been tormented to her suicide in some terrible way. It felt more true to life that way. This is the glorious teenage world, where one stupid comment can make you want to curl up in a ball and cry. Granted, it’s not quite glamorous, but it’s very true.

    It’s Asher’s handling of this fact that butchered it for me. This brings me on to my second blanket definition of why Hannah Baker is utterly unbearable.

    As I’ve mentioned several times before, Hannah’s reasons are a mixture of the severe and mundane – I suppose, realistically. But Hannah’s tone is so angry that there is virtually no variation. She seemed equally as angry at the guy who’d once pronounced that she had a ‘nice ass’ as the

    . Maybe that’s plausible for a suicidal girl – that she should feel so bitter and twisted towards everyone. Still, Hannah also has a very didactic narrative voice. I felt as though I was supposed to be Learning A Very Important Lesson, but equally important lessons from the

    I mean, really? They’re both in the same sport, perhaps – sexual judgment/harassment – but, really, completely different leagues.

    Of course, women should not be objectified. They should not be treated like meat. But what happened to Hannah was hardly bullying – it was a brief pain, something to shake off, not something that should blight her in the way it did. It doesn’t push her down further; it starts her downward spiral. That seemed all backwards to me. Plus, I know that teenagers are hardly known for their perspective, but I’d rather my ‘nice ass’ be acknowledged than be ridiculed on acne or bad hair or any kind of weight problem. Also, female students can be just as mean and judgmental – if not so more – about their peers’ appearances/bodies than men. So, please, my comment above is not a comment on a misogynistic society. P.S., it felt like Asher’s was. But really, ‘nice ass’? I’m not saying that Hannah should have taken it as a compliment – but perhaps taken it on the chin a little more?

    She expresses outrage at one point because she expressed one of the signs of suicidal thoughts:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I am not exaggerating. Hannah Baker honest-to-God spews vitriol all over these tapes because people saw that she’d had a haircut and their reaction was, “hey, nice haircut!” instead of “ARE YOU HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS?!?!”

    Insulting.

  • Emily May
    Oct 10, 2013

    Sometimes it's hard to see why other people might dislike a book you enjoy, but with

    , I can understand it perfectly.

    It is told from the perspective of Clay, but is mostly about the life of Hannah - a girl who recently killed herself. After her death, Clay receives a set of cassette tapes on which Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to

    Sometimes it's hard to see why other people might dislike a book you enjoy, but with

    , I can understand it perfectly.

    It is told from the perspective of Clay, but is mostly about the life of Hannah - a girl who recently killed herself. After her death, Clay receives a set of cassette tapes on which Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. And he is one of them.

    It is extremely compelling - unputdownable almost - but a problem many readers have is that the book relies on your sympathy for Hannah to effectively relay its message, and yet Hannah comes off as bratty, selfish and ofttimes over-sensitive. Many of her "reasons" are things that everyone has experienced at some point and people generally file those under "bad days" and definitely don't kill themselves because of it.

    But actually,

    . As a suicide survivor, I even related to her at times. And, though I don't attempt to speak for everyone, I feel in a position to attest that there can be something bratty and selfish about suicide.

    I think this book captured a certain feeling very well and I disagree with those who thought Hannah wasn't realistically suicidal. It's true that nobody kills themselves because they get stood up, and nobody kills themselves because some douche groped their ass, and nobody kills themselves because of a mean rumour...

    .

    People like to look for clear-cut reasons that make sense. They want Hannah to give a good reason why she killed herself. But, in reality, it so rarely is one big reason you can point to. Most of the time, the little things all build up, day after day, one small thing after another, until the little reasons all blend into a single feeling of hopelessness.

    That is what this book is about. And it's also about taking responsibility for your actions and understanding how your small selfish acts can affect someone else.

    I did not have an issue believing in or finding sympathy for Hannah. My only real issue with this book was Clay, the revelation about him, and the way he viewed the truth about Hannah. Clay changes his mind about Hannah based on what he hears and decides she did not deserve to be slut-shamed because the rumours weren't true. But - would she have deserved the treatment any more if she had done what the rumours said? "No" is the answer. And I wish the book had taken the opportunity to address that.

    But otherwise, this is a creative pageturner, even if it seems a bit strange that cassette tapes were being used in 2007. I liked it a lot and it really made me think.

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  • Zoë
    Mar 06, 2015

    I am so happy that I finally decided to pick up this book. I've heard nothing but hype and it is completely deserved.

    changed me. It made me step back from my life and realize that every action I take affects someone else, positively or negatively. I've studied the butterfly effect in school and I knew what it was as a concept but it didn't really hit me until this book.

    Hannah's voice is eerie and powerful and really made this story stand out. Even knowi

    I am so happy that I finally decided to pick up this book. I've heard nothing but hype and it is completely deserved.

    changed me. It made me step back from my life and realize that every action I take affects someone else, positively or negatively. I've studied the butterfly effect in school and I knew what it was as a concept but it didn't really hit me until this book.

    Hannah's voice is eerie and powerful and really made this story stand out. Even knowing going into this that she ends her life, I began to beg her not to and wish that it could end differently.

    I don't really know what else to say because I'm still recovering from this book, but I definitely want to listen to the audio book one day.