Review: Thirteen Reasons Why {Jay Asher}

Thirteen Reasons Why
Clay Jensen comes home from school excited to find a mystery box sitting on his porch. The box is filled with cassette tapes. Seven cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a girl who he has had a crush on since she moved to town. A girl who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

The tapes document Hannah's thirteen reasons for why she ended her life and the people responsible for her death. Each one must listen to the tapes and then pass them on to the next person on the list. And Clay is next on the list.

Confused as to what he could have possibly done, Clay becomes obsessed with hearing Hannah's story, awaiting anxiously for his own name to crop up as he uncovers the disturbing truths that caused Hannah to give up hope.


I really have to applaud Jay Asher for coming up with such a compelling premise. I was so eager to find out just what – and who – was on the tapes and where Clay fit in. It was also really interesting to see how all the different people in Hannah's life played their own small parts in her choice.

Saying that, Hannah kind of had a tendency to be over-dramatic. I know that sounds harsh, but it's true. Yes, some of the things that happened were bad. But other reasons and the other people she blamed were kind of childish. In my opinion, there were a some of people who really didn't deserve to be on those tapes. I know it's supposed to be a culmination of events that lead to her choice, but there were points in the book where I was just like: seriously, Hannah?

Then again, that was also the beauty of it: Hannah annoyed me, but she completely pulled me in. She was whiny, but she was also sympathetic. She was a real person with faults. Somehow, I actually think this book would've been more effective if it was told from Hannah's point of view. Perhaps showing her making the tapes and following her story as she did, so we could get more of an insight. 

As it stands, things were told from Clay's point of view, with Hannah's voice interjecting whenever the tapes were played. And Clay just didn't hold my attention. I wanted to know Hannah's story so much that I found myself completely uninterested in Clay's. But still, the idea that we could affect someone's life so drastically with even the smallest and seemingly insignificant of acts really gave me something to think about. And I commend Asher for that.

This is a book that makes you wonder: how can you tell if someone is suffering? What constitutes as a 'good enough' reason for suicide? How do you know the effect you've had on someone's life? Can we ever really understand each other? Though there were some things that irked me, I did enjoy this book. There's some romance, there's drama, there's mystery and there's intrigue. If nothing else, this is a book that will leave you thinking.

"You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything." 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart.


  1. That kind of sounds like a heavy book to pick up and read, at least, when dealing with reasons why she would commit suicide. However, the very idea of it draws me in, kind of like you said. I want to know what she said on the tapes!

    I get annoyed with character that are whiny and dramatic, but at the same time, props to those authors that can keep those characters consistent enough that I can't stand them. While they bug me, they also fascinate me!

    1. Hannah definitely was one of those characters. There were times when I couldn't stand her, but other times I couldn't help but want to give her a big hug.

      But yeah, I guess this book is kind of heavy but at the same time it's not super depressing. More intriguing!

  2. I didn't like this one very much. I read it a few years ago so I don't remember a whole lot about it, but I do have the general bad feeling about it. I'm glad you liked it, even if there was too much Clay!

    1. I think this book is a bit Marmite, especially because of the issues it deals with. I can understand why this might be a bit of a miss, because there were definitely parts I found to be a bit 'eh'. But overall its uniqueness just won me over :)

  3. I really liked this book and I think it was more about Clay listening to Hannah's tapes, so that didn't bother me at all. =)

    1. I think I was just so intrigued by Hannah it made Clay slip down on my list of priorities haha

  4. I enjoyed this book too. I didn't loooved it, but it was nice and different.