An unexpected package greets high school student Clay Jenson at home one day. It bears no return address. Inside are seven cassette tapes. Curious, Clay pops one into a dusty player and is shocked to hear the voice of his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide just weeks earlier. Clay is stunned. Through the tapes, Hannah promises to reveal the names and circumstances in which thirteen people contributed to her suicide. But how can he be one of them? He liked her.
Hannah’s story sends Clay spinning through town, visiting locations Hannah has marked on a map, reliving each scene through her eyes. His journey changes his perceptions of Hannah, his classmates, and himself, but not always in ways one expects.
Author Jay Asher tackles the topic of teen suicide with gravity and realism but without glamorizing or romanticizing it. While Hannah’s tapes cast blame and accusation on others, sometimes justly, the back-and-forth narrative gives Clay an opportunity to raise reasons why Hannah was not out of choices, and why her death was a tragedy but not an inevitability. Gritty and powerfully told.
Reference to masturbation. Two scenes in which a girl is raped. One is not described at all. The other has some graphic details opening, but cuts off quickly. In one scene teens gather in their underwear in a hot tub.
Reference to a teen killed in a car accident, but no description of the event. See sexual content.
Under-aged drinking at a party.