Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Review

Thirteen Reasons Why

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Plot:

Oh my goodness. It’s hard to explain Thirteen Reasons Why without getting really emotional. To be honest, I’ve wanted to read it for awhile, but was too scared to actually pick it up. But people kept telling me I should read it and I decided “well, why not?”

I was scared Thirteen Reasons Why would make me upset, so the beginning of the book was . . . unexpected. It was more intriguing than upsetting, really. The beginning of the tapes made me think Hannah was more of a devious, maniacal genius (in a morbid sort of way) rather than just suicidal. I almost hate that this was my original idea of her because after this everything that came out of her mouth just got more and more powerful. This is not a book for the weakhearted, but definitely a book I would recommend to almost everyone just for the message Hannah gets across. It really made me think and hit me in so many ways that I didn’t expect.

Hannah Baker’s thirteen tapes tell a story more than create a list. Even though she’s gone and dead, you feel like you’re in her perspective the whole time. Jay Asher creates a powerful story about how one girl’s life was peeled away like old paint–piece by piece–till there was nothing left for her. But it’s those thirteen reasons why that really pack the punch. A beautiful and painfully tragic story. I really don’t know what to say besides that.

Plot: 5 out of 5

Characters:

Hannah Baker, oh. It’s really, really hard to talk about her without just shoving the book in your face. I feel like there is no accurate way to describe her without telling you her whole story. She’s far more than just a character on a page. She’s fully developed with a life story. She’s full of memories and experiences that make her the way she is. When you come across a character like this, you really cannot properly describe them.

And Clay? To be honest, I wish I could have seen more of him. In a way, I feel like I knew him, but only the him that Hannah saw. I felt like there was so much more to him from the things he thought while listening to the tapes and the ways he reacted to everything that happened around him during the process of listening. But in the end? I really wish I could have seen more of him. I see why I didn’t, though. Hannah’s story was more important in this book and we saw only what we needed to of Clay.

All in all? Jay Asher is one amazing guy when it comes to characterization. They didn’t feel like characters to me. They felt more like they actually existed.

Characters: 4.5 out of 5

Writing Style/Setting:

Everything about this is perfect. The writing style is excellent and really isn’t confusing as long as you aren’t reading it aloud to someone. The setting is so perfectly described. Hannah was very careful about sharing specific locations and her descriptions were excellent. I could practically see everything she went through. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Writing Style/Setting: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars. This book was beautiful. I loved it so much and I recommend it to everyone. Well, maybe not some younger kids/early teens due to subject matter, but I think it’s more of a parental decision there. Want to check it out? You can buy Thirteen Reasons Why on Amazon for $6.59.


10 thoughts on “Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Review

  1. I read this book a long time ago, when I was still in elementary school. I remember absolutely loving it for how deep and emotional it was, just like you described. Recently I read some stuff online about how the book made it seem like Hannah’s suicide was caused solely by those around her, while failing to focus on her own inner turmoil. I’m not sure how I feel about that bc aren’t the other people what caused her inner turmoil? Anyway, I’d love to give it a re read to see what I think of it now. Awesome review, I’m glad you liked it! Also, there’s a website where you can listen to Hannah’s tapes online, if you’re interested! I can’t remember the website but I’m sure it would come up if you Googled it.

    1. I agree with you that they caused her inner turmoil. I mean, her message clearly seemed to be about how the actions of others can really affect people. At least, I thought that’s part of what she was trying to explain through her tapes. That, even though she was going to kill herself, she wanted to offer them some advice (in an almost vengeful sort of way). Ooh, I didn’t know that about the tapes online! I’ll have to look that up. Thank you!

  2. I like his style, so this one will probably capture my interest. Thanks for breaking down the parts of the novel and discussing them as you did. I’m new to your blog, but will return to see other reviews.

  3. I’ve wanted to read this for so long! I’m a little worried because I know it’s not a light read but I’ve heard so many good things, hopefully I’ll get round to it some time in September or October, so many books to read!

    1. Yeah, I feel you there. . . It was a really deep book, but it was so, so good. I hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to pick it up! I hear you about having so much to read. . .

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