Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why is a book about a boy named Clay. One day to Clay’s surprise, a box is delivered to his door. A box from Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush. It has to be a joke… Hannah Baker committed suicide two weeks earlier. It’s not a joke. The box contains a mix of tapes recorded by Hannah. The tapes tell why she took her life, and they have been sent to the people who are responsible. What did Clay do? What action resulted in the end of Hannah Baker’s life? All he has to do is listen to the tapes.

I nearly finished this book at the bookstore before even buying it. I couldn’t bear to put it down. Somehow I was sitting right there next to Hannah, somehow I was watching the story unravel before my very eyes.

Jay Asher wrote the book so that it goes back-and-forth between Clay’s life, and Hannah’s voice over the tapes. This method seems to leave an echo of Hannah throughout the whole story without her even being there. It makes her a stronger character and makes a stronger story.
A wonderful thing about this book is that it allows you to see not only how people affected Hannah, but how Hannah affected people. Hannah’s life isn’t the only one that takes a drastic change. Think about being in High School and finding out you were the reason for a death. A somewhat unconscious murderer. How would that change your life? Would it help you to grow as a person, or would it leave a dent inside of you? The book allows you to see how characters react to the tapes, whether it’s blaming the other perpetrators or feeling that they themselves are a killer, either way, nobody takes it lightly.

Thirteen Reasons Why is definitely not a happy book. It leaves you with a strange feeling whenever you read it, an uncomfortable feeling. I expected that while reading this book all I would feel was sorrow for Hannah. That’s not what happened. I found that I kept asking myself the same question, “Could Hannah’s suicide be a bad move on her part?” I wonder if Hannah could have stepped back and asked herself if it was worth it? Life can only get better when you’re a teenager. That thought made me feel bad for every person who received that box, even if what they did was unforgivable.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a beautiful, emotional, breathtaking novel. It couldn’t have been written better. I definitely recommend this book, and I think that everyone should eventually read it. This book is very good, but the subject is quite mature, and the way the book is written may become slightly confusing. I think this book would be good for teenagers ages 13+ (even though I’m 12), and should be given a parent’s permission. But if you have the okay, the I don’t know what you’re waiting for… Go, read it!


Miranda Marks is a student at Delta in State College, PA.

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Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  1. Literally read this book in 2 sittings the first time. Now I’m re-reading it via audible and it’s better than I remember. I’m glad you liked it! Do you feel that the series on Netflix pays a good homage to it?

    1. This is Kate, the Blog Editor responding…many of my students have said the Netflix series is even better than the book. I’ve also had students pick up the book after watching the series. I haven’t seen it yet myself, but I also read the book quickly and enjoyed it.

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