Thirteen Reasons Why
Published October 18, 2007
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About Thirteen Reasons Why
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 died by 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.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some crude language but no cursing.
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.
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This does sound really interesting how he traces through events. But also really depressing. :/
It was definitely sad. Less in a Nicholas Sparks way and more in a “Now I just want to sit and think about this for a minute” way. Fewer tissues. More deep thoughts. For what that’s worth. 🙂
This is one of my favorite, and in my opinion, best books I’ve ever read.
You know, I read it because another author I admire recommended it on shelfari, and I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about it at first. I worried that it would romanticize the idea of suicide, and each time I read it (because I’ve done so more than once) I’m struck again by how well Asher balances the story between sadness at the loss and the simple tragedy that it didn’t have to turn out that way. It’s got some mature elements, but it’s such a powerful story.
I completely agree! The first time I saw the book was on a shelf at a grocery store and I just had to buy it (Its incredibly difficult to pass by a book!) and I have read several times as well.