Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.
Every once in a while, a book will capture my attention and hold it for a while but then every once in a blue moon, a story will capture my heart and won’t let go. This story was that story for me. Throughout the entire book, I kept thinking, “Oh goodness, what could Clay have possibly done to end up on Hannah’s list?” and the more I read, the more I needed to know what happened. I was intrigued with this story because on the cover of the book that I got, it read:
“There are 13 reasons why your friend died. You are one of them.”
The main character in this story is a girl named Hannah. Hannah committed suicide but before she did that, she made tapes listing the reasons (there were 13) why she committed suicide. The way that her reasons connected and how they ended up on her list had me thinking back to high school and wondering over my actions and even my non-actions. Can you imagine being in high school, being a teenager and receiving a box with tapes that a friend of yours recorded, listing you as one of the reasons she killed herself? I cannot even imagine something like that and yet this was reality to Clay Jensen.
Clay had the biggest crush on Hannah but he was too shy to reveal his feelings to her. He thought that he had time but when she killed herself, his time ran out and then he gets this box from her and he listens to the tapes and the tapes reveal reason after reason of her suicide and you can’t help but feel for Clay because he’s about to find out why he was a reason Hannah (his crush) killed herself. While you’re reading this book your mind is racing, your heart is hurting for this young girl and you can’t help but wonder….what if I had gotten a box like this? How would I react? What would I do? What would I think? Have I given anyone reason to add me to their list of reasons they’d want to kill themselves? This book was a very deep book, one that had me guessing right up until the last chapter.
I was invested in this story and Asher did a fantastic job of keeping me into this story. I hated those other kids of Hannah and it made me realize how one small rumor can snowball into a bunch of little incidents that hurt people and it made me ashamed and regret my actions as a teenager. I wasn’t a bad kid, I’m what one of my co workers calls a “pleaser” I don’t like others to be mad at me so I go out of my way to be nice to everyone and yet there were times in high school that I repeated a rumor I heard or treated someone with caution because of a rumor I heard. I very well might have passed up some amazing friendships because of rumors I heard.
It’s weird how reading this book brought back so many faces to mind of people that I went to high school with. People who had rumors spread about them, the snickers you’d hear when that person walked by and we all know how rumors are, they spread like wildfire and this book showed us how some of those rumors could effect the people around us and it made me sit up and take notice.
This book was really good. It wasn’t a romance, it wasn’t a flighty young adult novel, it was a story that had depth, a story that made you think and a story that made you want to be better. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a book that I think everyone should read, just because. It’s an eye opener of a book.
Grade: 4.75 out of 5
This book is available from Penguin. You can buy it here.