Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Posted June 2, 2014 by Liza in Reviews / 5 Comments

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher
Published on October 18th, 2007
by Razorbill
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Debra Wiseman, Joel Johnstone
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
Source: Library
Amazon | Goodreads

Also by this author: What Light

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.

5 Stars

It took me forever to read Thirteen Reasons Why, but I finally did and what all the hype was about when it first came out.  This book is very powerful, heartbreaking, and full of hope at the same time.

Thirteen Reasons Why is Hannah’s attempt to justify and explain why she took her own life.  We know, from the beginning that she did.  After she made that decision, she recorded thirteen tapes and left them for specific people to find.  Clay is one of these people. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, a bright student, and he had a crush on Hannah.  I really liked Clay and we can see how Hannah’s story moved him so deeply, that it changed him.

Was Hannah justified in taking her own life?  I don’t think she was, but then again, it made sense to her.  Every little part of her story created a snowball effect that made her very desperate and unable to trust others.  I think that if her parents and teachers would have been paying more attentions it would have made a difference, but that’s just me guessing. She sounds bitter, desperate, not precisely seeking vengeance, but wishing she could.

Let me just say that there are some seriously messed up people in Hannah and Clay’s school.  Some of them committed truly awful transgressions, even crimes, while others where just having ‘fun’ and did not know the consequences of their acts.  This book should be mandatory reading in every middle school.

The topic of this book is very serious and important.  Suicide is not laughing matter and Asher tackled it in a way that makes it understandable to the reader.  Not only that, but other really hard topics come into place in Hannah’s story, lying, bullying, underage drinking, date rape, negligence and more.  The writing is very good, fully of feeling and nuances.

Overall, Thirteen Reasons Why turned out to be an amazing read with an impressive story that will stay with me for a long time.

About the narration: I think that Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman were the perfect choices to read Thirteen Reasons Why.  The format of the book is conducive to have two narrators and it makes listening to the book so much easier.  It is my first audiobook by either narrator and I loved it, it was very well read/acted.


About Debra Wiseman

About Joel Johnstone

About Jay Asher

Except for six months in Wyoming, I’ve lived my entire life in California. It was during those six months in Sheridan, Wyoming that I came up with the idea for Thirteen Reasons Why. I’ve worked at an independent bookstore, a chain bookstore, an outlet bookstore, and two public libraries. Before those jobs, I worked at a shoe store, a trophy shop, and an airline. My very first writing award earned me a free fruit smoothie every day for a year. I’ve won a lot of awards since then, but that one tasted the best!


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5 responses to “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  1. Ohhh, wow, you loved this one! I think for me, I saw that so many people loved this book, so that turned me off. Honestly, I didn’t even know what this book was about, before reading your review closely. It sounds like a “tough issues” book, which I generally avoid, but you REALLY liked this one! Which counts for a lot. So I’ll give it a shot 🙂

    Fabulous review, Liza!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    Alyssa Susanna (The Eater of Books!) recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday (#75): Zodiac by Romina Russell
    • Liza

      I also try to avoid books like this, it’s probably why it took me so long to get to it. It was really good though, so I’m glad I gave it a try 🙂

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