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Gr 7 Up High school senior Clay Jensen receives seven audiotapes in the mail. They contain the story of why Hannah Baker, a girl he adored, committed suicide. Each side is devoted to a person in her life and a reason for her death. Clay also has a map of places featured on the recordings. He spends a torturous night listening and wandering, unearthing the depth and causes of Hannah's unhappiness. His torment is private-how did he hurt a girl he treasured from afar-and empathic-her hurts and betrayals tear him apart. Clay's pain is palpable and exquisitely drawn in gripping, casually poetic prose. The complex and soulful characters expose astoundingly rich and singularly teenage inner lives, with emotions as raw as cut wrists. The mood is more serious than somber, and Clay's thoughtful synthesis of Hannah's increasingly explosive narrative saves the novel from melodrama. In fact, Hannah's and Clay's narratives are woven together so seamlessly that the characters appear to converse naturally from opposite sides of mortality. Compounded, the tapes build the plot in increasingly tense increments-Hannah's story is a freight train of despair and suspense that picks up speed as it moves to her final undoing. Like the protagonist in John Green's Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005), Hannah is an animate ghost; Clay's bereaved voice bears witness to her tragedy. The episodic structure is nicely suited to reluctant readers, but the breakneck pace and dizzying emotion are the true source of this novel's irresistible readability at all levels.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Posted June 23, 2009
1. It's wonderfully written
2. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time
3. You'll fall in love with the characters
4. You'll hate the antagonists of the book
5. At the end, you'll be cheering for Clay
6. At the end, you'll be crying for Hannah
7. It'll give you a greater understanding of teenage suicide
8. It's inspiring
9. It's unforgettable
10. At the end you'll be hungry for more
11. It's original and, well, quite awesome
12. You won't find books like this often
13. What are you doing reading reviews? Read the freakin' BOOK already!
427 out of 453 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2010
This book caught my interest from the first time I saw it. I finally picked it up when I saw it at the library. Within the first couple pages I was hooked. They way the author presented this story was so real. I could feel Clay's emotions as he listened to each of the tapes. I wanted to reach out to Hannah and tell her that everything was going to be okay. I've read reviews that state they felt Hannah was placing blame on those 13 people. I never felt like that through the entire story. I felt Hannah was trying to point out that a person's actions DO affect others. Rumors, lies, bullying, etc are all ways that can cut a person down. I think Hannah hoped that through the tapes, she could make someone (even just one) realize their behavior can change. I was so raw in emotion towards the end, I needed to step back from the book for awhile and reflect over it. You know the outcome of the story, but part of you hopes for that glimmer of help. Something for Hannah to reach out and hold on to. I hope this book becomes a must read for teens. I think it has a very real portrayal of suicide and that things that may drive a person to believe that it may be the only option.
175 out of 181 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2008
I don't often write introductions to my reviews. In fact, the last time I can remember doing so was with the wonderful PUCKER by Melanie Gideon, which I read in 2006. However, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, the debut novel from author Jay Asher, is the type of book that begs an introduction. So if you'd like to skip down to the third paragraph for the "meat" of the story, I won't hold it against you -- but you'll be missing something important. <BR/><BR/>If you have the chance to only read one novel this year, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY should be that book. It's sad, amazing, heartbreaking, and hopeful, all at the same time. I dare you to read it and not become so immersed in the story that you lose track of time and your surroundings. You'll cry, several times, while reading this story. You'll have no choice but to think about your actions, and wonder what type of effect they have on other people. And, in the end, you might also find the need to say "thank you." <BR/><BR/>Now, on to the story... <BR/><BR/>When Clay Jensen finds a package on his front porch, he's excited. A package, for him? With no return address? What could it possibly be? What Clay finds is a shoebox full of cassette tapes, each marked as "Cassette 1: Side A," "Cassette 1: Side B," etc. Of course he rushes to the old radio/cassette player in his dad's garage to check out these mysterious tapes. <BR/><BR/>And soon wishes, wholeheartedly, that he'd never picked up that stupid package from his front porch. <BR/><BR/>What he hears when he inserts that first tape is the voice of Hannah Baker. Hannah, the girl he'd crushed on for longer than he could remember. The girl he went to school with. The girl he worked at the movie theater with. The girl who had changed, drastically, in the last several months. Hannah Baker, the girl who committed suicide. <BR/><BR/>Clay soon realizes that these tapes aren't just a suicide note, aren't, really, even a clear-cut rendition of why she did what she did. Instead, these are thirteen reasons -- thirteen people, to be exact -- who created a snowball-effect of events that led Hannah to believe that suicide was her only option. But why is Clay on that list? How could he possibly be one of the reasons that she killed herself? <BR/><BR/>As the day goes on, Clay becomes obsessed with listening to the tapes. And what he hears frightens him, disturbs him, and, in the end, leads him to realizations that he never would have expected. As Clay listens to the role that thirteen people, including himself, led in the ultimate death of Hannah Baker, his view of the world, and himself, changes drastically. <BR/><BR/>You will love this book, because you won't be able to help yourself. You will feel what Clay feels. You will, in a very strong way, experience the highs and lows of Hannah's life right along with her. And there is nothing, in my opinion, that could speak better for the authenticity of a book. Read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. And then, if you're like me, you'll read it again. And, hopefully, none of us will ever forget it.
96 out of 112 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2009
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I think I was the rare person who did NOT love Thirteen Reasons Why. Unlike much of the excellent teen fiction that is being written, Thirteen Reasons Why rang false to me. The characters seemed hollow and like caricatures of real teenagers. The teens in the story acted like an adult's idea of how teenagers act. Worst of all, there is no sympathy to be found for the subject of the book, Hannah Baker, who killed herself and left behind tapes detailing why for those people who made her miserable. She came off perhaps worst of all the characters in the boo -- she seems petty and vindictive, having left tapes telling people that she killed herself because of them. We at least get to witness some of these characters experiencing remorse.
Perhaps the flattening of Hannah Baker's character is an affect of the fact that she is already dead when the book begins. We only know of her what she recorded on these tapes, but what is there isn't flattering. Hannah is the ultimate passive-aggressive, not really doing anything to help her cause. This book didn't make me feel anything but annoyance, and I would recommend many other teen titles before this one.
72 out of 191 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2010
I could only hope that every person in this world would read this and learn from it. It IS everything that i try to express to my girls every day.. this world is NOT just about us, its about each and every person out there that we encounter daily as well and how we go about ourselves within our world!
45 out of 48 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2008
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher deserves a five star review. Asher did an excellent job putting a twist of realism into the novel. So real, it was almost eerie. Hannah Baker was an average high school student who unfortunately suffered through a horrible year. She describes it as a "snowball effect" which I found very interesting. Small tragedies started the snowball...then bigger ones resulting from the smaller...and even larger ones from the past. All of these occurences or "snowballs" soon became overwhelming and Hannah came to the decision of suicide. She left behind tapes that included the snowballs and the reasons behind her decision. As I read this book and "listened" to Hannah's tapes, I felt as if I was another name on her list, listening to her story. I was unable to put this book down, it was a thrilling emotional rollercoaster. As I read, I wanted to yell at Hannah and all of the other names on the list. I became connected with Hannah and even though I knew she was going to kill herself, I prayed and hoped that she wouldn't. Hoping maybe, just maybe she'd change her mind at the end. But no, if she wouldn't have committed suicide, this book would not have had the effect it did on me. The style which this book was written was very creative and intriguing. Jay Asher is a brilliant Author and I will deffinitley be checking out more of his work.
40 out of 43 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2009
I had to read this book for school and was hooked by the very beginning. The issue of suicide greatly affects teens. Thirteen Reasons Why helps people realize what you do and say to people affects them. Also, what you do not do or say does too.
35 out of 38 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2008
When I first saw this book, I thought it would be really good. But after the first 3 tapes, it just dragged on and on. She killed herself without even a good reason. She had lots of friends, her parents loved her, she had a boy who liked her. Yeah she was teased a little about being a slut, but alot of people are. It's such a ridiculous reason.
27 out of 97 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2010
This book is one of the few books that have made me very mad when I finished reading. The girl, Hannah, is a whiny little teenager that didn't feel like talking to anyone about her problems, and decides to take it out on the people who have "wronged" her, even if it was as simple as spreading a rumor about her. I firmly believe that there is no reason for one to take their own life, and the 13 reasons why she did so were ridiculous and could have been helped if she had talked to someone, but she chose not to. I read this book in 9 hours, and I still wish I could regain those 9 hours of my life back.
24 out of 76 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 8, 2008
This book deserves an award or something. Its so realistically told that it makes you feel like your actually living through the characters (of both Hannah and Clay). This book... im at a loss of words... i feel that no matter how i describe this book, I wont be able to fully descirde my feelings towards it. Everyone (id say bout 8th grade and +), read this, you wont regret it, its a beautiful story.
22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2009
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I've been avoiding young-adult books for a while, even though I'm one myself. Most young-adult books consist of vampires and melodrama. I thought this one would be different since it dealt with something so horrible: suicide. I hoped that it would be different from most teen books I've been reading. I was wrong.
I just became increasingly aggravated when reading this. The girl who killed herself, Hannah, was very annoying and hypocritical. Parts of the book just contradicted itself. This girl wanted to be kissed. A lot of boys asked for her number, but she waited until high school to give it to one boy. Then she complains about how she never been kissed and all of her friends were kissed before her. She had all those chances, why did she wait for one insignifact boy who ended up spreading a rumor about her?
The reasons were just plain unrealistic. Why was everyone so interested in her? She wasn't the only new girl in town, and according to her not the prettiest, so why were there all these rumors about her? It just doesn't make sense. And these reasons... Everyone has been teased, it's not a reason to kill yourself. Unfortunately, some teenagers do kill themselves over such treatment. I have to argue, though, that their taunting was far worse.
My friend's brother committed suicide last year. His parents were rough on him and he was harrassed at school for being slow. He had mental problems, but his parents did nothing about it. He hung himself. We were expecting it, even though we tried our best. It's difficult to stop someone from killing themselves. That's why when I read the last reason about the teacher, I nearly burst. What was he supposed to do? He tried his best.
Clay's reason was annoying too. She went ballistic and told him to leave, and then gets upset because he listened to her? Basically, Hannah is very selfish and ridculous. She had friends, family, and just because some minor things hampered her relationships with them, does not give her any reason to overdose.
The writing was redundant and annoying, and I found myself rolling my eyes at some sentences. All in all, I shouldn't have bought the book.
21 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2010
When I saw this on the shelves, I noticed it right away. When I read the back cover, it sounded very interesting.
This book is definitely a reread. I would also recommend this book to my friends and family. I felt like I was there, listening to the tapes. I also felt I was in Hannah's shoes. I could feel her pain. This book didn't make me cry, but I did say "oh my god!" and "wow..." a lot.
18 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 30, 2012
Wow!! That was great! That is what i thought at the end of this book. I saw the cover of it at hastings and i had to have it!! Then, after thinking a little more about all the reasons why she killed nerself, i wanted to hurl that book across the room. (SPOILERS) ok so a couple of people call you a slut and a guy peeks in your window. The guy peeking at you is a little creepy but the other crap?? Come on hannah!! And if a guy tries to touch you then hit him in the nutsack and run like hell not kill yourself!! I found this novel very aggrivating!! When i thought a little more about how she kills herself and then makes people listen to her saddictive tapes about why she killed herself, i was like why in gods name have i purchased such a crappy book?? Oh and when she actually searches for a reason not to kill neeself, she talks to a teacher about a boy hurting her and then walks away after five flipping minutes because she didnt like what she heard. I know all the other reviews say oh this book was so amazing and it was the best book ever and blah blah blah but ignore the crap out of them and DO NOT PURCHASE THIS BOOK. It will be a colossal waste of time and money
14 out of 32 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2010
I'd heard a lot about the book before I decided I wanted to read it. I heard from friends that it was a great book but as usual it takes me a while to really listen to them. I was in english class and I noticed my english teacher had a couple copies of it in her room. So i figured I would read it. As I first started the book it was a really interesting plot. I think we all wonder if we know someone like Hannah. Someone who's dealt with so much in life that they are almost snapped. It's great to see how Hannah feels about things. I don't believe that Hannah is really blaming anyone. I just think she's saying how people can't really help her and that people did make her feel really overwhelmed and made her feel pain. I think she knows that it was the way she felt about life that caused her to end her life and not everyone else. With the emotions that Clay was obviously feeling, and how strong the tapes were and how emotional they were it really got me thinking. Thinking about life and about how I treat people. The book is an emotional ride and it kind of teaches you lessons on life and on people.
12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2010
Reading this book as an adult, everyone can look back and remember their experiences in high school and how they affected us. Jay Asher does a wonderful job in telling Hannah's emotional journey to her breaking point, when she just could not take any more. I believe this book should be required reading at the high school level to make students think before they say anything about their classmates. I would recommend this book to all ages, it is suspenseful, powerful and unforgettable.
12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2012
The subject /idea of the book was intriguing but it ultimatly did not land as planned. In these days where teenagers are suicide trending this book shows exactly how stupid these kids are for doing so. Nothing in this BORING book was suicide worthy. NOT one thing. Hannah turned out to be the worst character with her vindictivness as she set about blackmailing and traumatizing 13 other kids for being KIDS. It shows how she set herself up over and over again . She never once talked to her family or try to get help for her feelings and she was ashamed of each of her actions and instead try to change things , she felt commiting suicide to "get their attention" to force them to change was the right thing to do. What was this book about? This book is a slow ticking bomb waiting to fall into the wrong suicidal teens hand. Everything made her want to die, a word ,a look . She needed better parents just like every other suicide teen thats killed themselves in the past 4 years. They need to change schools and stop being so damn sensitive. Suicide is a permanent solution to a TEMPORARY problem. They need to calm their hormones and their parents NEED to get involved. Change schools ,Punch someone in the face, REBEL OR START RUMORS ON THE ONE WHO PASSED THEM ON YOU. Don't KILL yourself! Idiot! So what u got called a slut don't do slutty things like sneak out late at night and make out with some jerk you don't even know ...DUH If you do it them own llllllllllllllllllllit. And it was your choice so own up to it don't go slice your wrist or jump off a bridge cuz u made a mistake! This book is the teen world today , it really is. Like blackmailing and traumatizing 13 others for little truly insignificant things because it made YOU suicidal. like that was the right thing to do. This is a terrible book. Don't let your kids read this stupid crap because one of these idiots will think its a good idea.
11 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2012
this was probably the worst book i have ever read. i'm going to kill myself because this kid was looking through my window and taking pictures. let's all cry about it. or oh my teacher or whoever it was can go to hell because he didn't stop me when really it was my choice if i wanted to leave or not. give me a break. you must think you're queen Latifah or something if you think someones going to chase you down after being a complete snob. really i was all excited to reed this book and i am very let down
11 out of 31 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2012
Posted January 22, 2012
I read the sample on the nook. I was eager too keep going but but it wouldnt let me read even the first page. I want to read it so badly!! I have heard only good reviews about it.
8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.