Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Book - 2008
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When Clay Jenkins receives a box containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends the night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
Publisher: New York : Razorbill, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9781595141880
159514188X
Branch Call Number: YA ASHER
Characteristics: 288 pages, 24 unnumbered pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: 13 reasons why

Opinion

From Library Staff

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

Imagine you get a box of audio tapes from the girl you like. Now imagine that she killed herself last week.


From the critics


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p
pbnjenni_sandwich
Jul 07, 2019

I read this book twice. I actually forgot that I'd read it the first time. It left no real lasting impression on me the first time. It tends to drone on without much substance or redemption which left it mostly forgettable.

Hannah bullies and torments her fellow students who have "wronged" her, after her death. She even targets the main character who has done nothing bad to her.

I hated this book. The only thing I can see coming from it is that it talks about suicide and depression which may help open a narrative. But it does it in such an irresponsible and destructive way that I'd almost rather it was never written.

Yes, be mindful of how you treat others but not because they'll punish you by killing themselves.

I suppose if you've never found someone hanging in their closet, dead by their own hands, you may not be as sensitive to suicide as I am. But I tend to take it a lot more seriously than the author did. He should have done more research and talked to professionals about what kind of impact this would have on people who are suicidal/have survived suicide and those who have grieved the loss of a loved one to suicide. So many people feel guilty for their inability to stop someone from killing themselves. It's terrible to constantly second guess whether you're in any way responsible.

I would never recommend this book to anyone. Especially not a teen. If you (an adult) feel like recommending this to a teen, try just talking to them instead.

n
NovemberBaby
Apr 03, 2019

This book will touch your heart. For better or worse, our daily words and actions have profound ripple effects on those around us. Remember that 1991 Amanda Marshall song, "Everybody's Got a Story That'll Break Your Heart" (Don't assume everything on the surface is what you see, 'Cause that classmate just lost her mother, And that taxi driver's got a Ph-d"?

Same idea of this book...

Equally fascinating were the "13 Questions with Jay Asher" at the end of the book. Fun tidbit I learned: He chose to write about things that are already vintage (ie audiobooks or a Mustang) so as to never date his book.

d
Dontrice
Feb 23, 2019

This book was suspenseful, and I definitely learned from it. Overall it was a good book. It shows what some teenagers really go through.

k
KEBaileyG
Jan 23, 2019

This book did a great job of tackling the issues of sexual harassment, bullying, and suicide. How can we know what a person is struggling with? The truth is that we can't unless we reach out a hand to help. Ultimately, I think that's what this book is about--putting yourself out there to reach people even if it isn't convenient. The story is told in a highly original way-the main character listens to the tapes that his former classmate left behind after committing suicide. The struggles she faced, we find out, are too universal for young girls and some young men as well. This is a must read, especially for teens.

k
kaylaj1996
Dec 05, 2018

This is such an incredible book. (Some small spoilers, they won't surprise you when reading)
Some may say that it "glorifies" what people deal with after someone they know commits suicide. However, I couldn't disagree more. It is a powerful message that shows how the fall out of such an event occurred, and encourages action, rather than being a bystander. I encourage all young adults to read this novel, because it will truly give you an experience/mindset of what that tragedy could look like.

ArapahoeSusan Sep 21, 2018

The suicide portrayal in Thirteen Reasons Why has been controversial but it's still on my must-read list for teens. It carries such a strong message about how our actions and inactions, intended or unintended, can have unseen and profound impacts on others. More mature topics make this a great teen title.

c
CASSIE ERIN MAUL
Sep 18, 2018

The little things can help or hurt. Unfortunately for Hannah Baker, more of them hurt. As an individual who has bipolar disorder, I know how the smallest things can trigger suicidal thoughts. And, just like in the novel, they can build on each other in unexpected ways. The book was a good read, with the two different, alternating viewpoints helping to see the story in two different ways. And, despite the fact that Clay is in fact listening to the tapes, meaning we all know how it ends up, there's still an element of hope throughout the story that gets whittled away with each tape.

This is how it feels to be depressed. I'll end this review with an excerpt from a fanfiction that I wrote:

“I don’t hate you!” David exclaimed. “I love you! You’re so kind and funny! Dark, yes, but still! I can’t think of a single reason to try to kill yourself!”

“David, in the moment, you don’t just think of reasons why you want to die. You also fail to see a reason to live,” Jonathan said, looking up from his phone.

And this is really true, now isn't it?

d
donutwombat
Aug 23, 2018

Suspenseful and addictive, I promise this is a book you will not want to put down. This novel is famous because of the tv series made based on this book, but I recommend actually reading it; the pages and the feeling of the book in your hands will give it a whole other feel.

SFPL_ReadersAdvisory Jul 20, 2018

TV series based on the book, 2018 Golden Globe nominated, Katherine Langford, Best Actress in a Television Series

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
May 29, 2018

This book was about a girl in high school, Hannah Baker, who tried to commit suicide and left tapes as for reasons why, hence the name 13 reasons why. A boy named Clay Jensen receives the tapes and listens to them. I watched the show first and then wanted to read the book. And with all honesty this book looks upon many important issues in today's society, but I really didn't love it as much as the show. Many things that Hannah goes through are easily relatable, which is the part I liked about the book. Many characters in the book were, in my opinion, very well thought out. I would recommend this book to an older audience, teenagers aged 15-19. I would give this book a 3.3 out of 5 stars.
- @terrificbooklover of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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Age

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n
nahomi_reed
Dec 02, 2018

nahomi_reed thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 15

l
logicalburger
Jul 30, 2018

logicalburger thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

r
red_ant_7502
May 30, 2018

red_ant_7502 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

s
Skittles4Evah
Dec 12, 2017

Skittles4Evah thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

a
Ajohnson80130
Jun 20, 2017

Ajohnson80130 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

blue_crab_407 Jun 03, 2017

blue_crab_407 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

p
pink_flamingo_323
Apr 19, 2017

pink_flamingo_323 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

s
sleepybookworm
Apr 06, 2017

sleepybookworm thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

r
Runaway97
Mar 29, 2017

Runaway97 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

e
ecarr1212
Aug 01, 2016

ecarr1212 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Quotes

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h
h20092891
Jun 19, 2017

According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Ooh, black and yellow! Let's shake it up a little. Barry! Breakfast is ready! Coming! Hang on a second. Hello? - Barry? - Adam? - Can you believe this is happening? - I can't. I'll pick you up. Looking sharp. Use the stairs. Your father paid good money for those. Sorry. I'm excited. Here's the graduate. We're very proud of you, son. A perfect report card, all B's. Very proud. Ma! I got a thing going here. - You got lint on your fuzz. - Ow! That's me! - Wave to us! We'll be in row 118,000. - Bye! Barry, I told you, stop flying in the house! - Hey, Adam. - Hey, Barry. - Is that fuzz gel? - A little. Special day, graduation. Never thought I'd make it.

a
ashdu4
Jun 25, 2015

"Would you want the ability to hear other people's thoughts?
Of course you would. Everyone answers yes to that question before they think it all the way through.
For example, what if other people could hear your thoughts... right now?

h
hmhill613
May 14, 2015

"Maybe if I forgot things once in a while, we'd all be a little bit happier."

CynthiaS913 Jul 01, 2013

You'll do that right? All of you? You'll fill in the gaps? Because every story I'm telling leaves so many unanswered questions.

l
Lotte_
Oct 13, 2012

"I'm sorry..........................................thankyou."

betty302010 Aug 09, 2012

" never judge a person by the way they are it hurts them in the inside and can cause manny things to happend"

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

“I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.”

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

“You can't stop the future
You can't rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
...is to press play.”

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 05, 2012

"life can give u 13 reasons"

You don't know what went on in the rest of my life. At home. Even at school. You don't know what goes on in any-one'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. Unfortunatly, you can't be that precise and seletive. When you mess with one part of a person's life, you're messng with their entire life. -Hannah Baker Cassette 5: Side A

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Summary

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b
bandybri66
Jun 21, 2016

the main characters crush had just committed suicide when they receive a package of cassate tapes explain why she killed herself to the thirteen people causeing her to do so

a
ashdu4
Jun 25, 2015

When high school student Clay Jenson is delivered a box containing thirteen cassette tapes Hannah Baker made he spends the night following her words across his small town and recounting the events that lead to her death.

b
Books2Ubooktalker
Oct 23, 2012

Clay receives box of cassettes from suicide girl at school telling story of what happened. Tapes are sent and resent to each person crucial to the story. Story of lies, rumors, indifference, things not noticed, awkward teen culture, HS culture, parents too busy, teen cruelty, rape at a party, sex for the wrong reasons, and a teacher/counselor with no discernible suicide prevention skills. Clay is not the bad guy but is sickened by the story and what he might have done to stop the trainwreck if he'd only known. Students and a teacher are on the "list." Clay may be a better person after this, all lives will be changed by the tapes.

l
latifahngl
Sep 25, 2012

Just read this book, okay ?

betty302010 Aug 09, 2012

this book is about a girl who suicides herself but tells the others thatn did things to her what she couldnt tell them when she was alive. this book is so recommended

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 26, 2012

Clay Jensen, a somewhat shy high school student, returns home from school one day to find an anonymously-sent package sitting on his doorstep. Upon opening it, he discovers that it is a shoebox containing seven cassette tapes recorded by the late Hannah Baker, his classmate and emotional crush who recently committed suicide. The tapes were initially mailed to one classmate with instructions to pass them from one student to another, in the style of a chain letter. On the tapes, Hannah explains to thirteen people how they played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons to explain why she took her life. Hannah has given a second set of tapes to one of their classmates, the identity of whom Clay later discovers, and warns the people on the tapes that if they do not pass them on, the second set will be leaked to the entire student body. This could lead to the public embarrassment and shame of certain people, while others could face physical harassment charges or jail time. Through the audio narrative, Hannah reveals her pain and suffering and the slide into depression that ultimately leads to her death (suicide from pills). She lists her first crush, a boy who voted her "best ass in the freshman class", a former friend, a peeping Tom, a liar, a goof who takes advantage of her, a hater, a thief who steals her poems, a member of the list that already passed, a cheerleader who crashes into a stop sign, a guy who raped her in a hot tub, the guidance counselor, and Clay, her soul mate, all who thought their actions were harmless, or that they wouldn't affect or scar her. They were wrong.

b
bedard04
Sep 07, 2011

Clay, a highschool student receives a box one day coming home from school. As he begins to listen, he hears Hannah, A student that he liked that recently commited scuicide. Hannah explains that there are 13 poeple that played a part in her decision to commit suicide. The box contains 8 tapes, each side has a number, 1 to 13. each with the story of one of the 13 poeple. Clay is incredibly confused as to why he was sent the tapes, as he feels he did no wrong to Hannah. As he listens he visits different places that some of the events Hannah mentions. He spends the night, wandering the town, listening to theese tapes and learning about hannah, and other poeple that affected her decision to take her life.

c
Christina946
Jul 13, 2009

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

Notices

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b
bibliophile1387
Aug 12, 2017

Other: A National Post Story regarding 13 reasons - http://nationalpost.com/entertainment/television/did-13-reasons-why-lead-to-a-rise-in-suicide-rates/wcm/5f7643cf-9e11-440b-a876-31413ad34359

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frogtheworld
Nov 16, 2013

Sexual Content: rape

f
frogtheworld
Nov 16, 2013

Coarse Language: foul language

f
frogtheworld
Nov 16, 2013

Violence: aggressive actions

b
benzelli
Feb 18, 2013

Sexual Content: very specific with rape and sexual content

betty302010 Aug 09, 2012

Other: interesting and a page turner

SAPPHIREBEAR15 Jun 05, 2012

Coarse Language: foul launguage

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