Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

4.5 4279
by Jay Asher
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
...compelling reading
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Clay Jensen's first love records her last words. Clay returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice explains that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he will find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself, a truth he never wanted to face. What he discovers changes his life forever. This novel is the first for Jay Asher, and it is billed as a spectacular one. The reader learns that one cannot stop the future or rewind the past. This book is also billed as suspense. It may not be for everyone, and many may become bored and/or discouraged before the end, but, like other Razorbill books, it is challenging and interesting. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
Jennifer Lee
Clay receives a mysterious brown-wrapped package in the mail. When he opens it, he finds a handful of cassette tapes. After finding a cassette player (because, heck, it is 2007, who uses cassette players anymore?) he pops in cassette No. 1 and is shocked to find that his classmate, Hannah, is speaking on the tapes. . . . Hannah had killed herself just weeks before the package's arrival. As Clay listens, he finds that anyone who receives the package is one of the 13 reasons Hannah committed suicide. This page-turner will keep you up all night, as Clay pops in cassette after cassette, to find out what his role is exactly in Hannah's death. Could he really be somewhat responsible? You won't regret reading this book, and it won't take you very long. It is a fast read and will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you read on to find out more about the circumstances surrounding Hannah's death. Reviewer: Jennifer Lee
VOYA
Listening to the audio cassettes found propped against his front door, Clay is shocked to hear the voice of Hannah, who killed herself two weeks earlier. On the tapes, Hannah explains why she committed suicide and how the thirteen people named in the tapes contributed to her decision to end her life. Clay learns that he is among those named. High school senior Clay is the novel's main narrator, but the story belongs to Hannah. She describes in an authentic, if overly self-aware, voice how slights and misunderstandings snowballed until she could no longer cope. Hannah's reputation is questioned, her parents are distracted by financial problems, her friends use her, and when she reaches out for help, no one steps forward. Readers will immediately identify with Hannah's experiences in high school society. From Hannah, readers realize the impact of thoughtless actions and comments. As Clay finishes Hannah's story, he becomes more perceptive and sensitive to others. Teens will embrace Asher's debut novel because it is not condescending or preachy. Sex and drugs are plot elements but are not graphically described. Short sentences make it a quick, smooth read, yet there is depth to the novel. This provocative tale touches on universal topics of interest, is genuine in its message, and would be a good choice for high school book discussions and booktalks. The attractive cover art is aimed at female readers. But because the content appeals to both genders, more readers would be drawn to the book if it featured Clay on the cover. Reviewer: Judy Sasges
School Library Journal

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

From the Publisher
“Heavy but compelling. . . . Asher’s novel asks us to look at how petty cruelty can deal crushing blows.” —Miami Herald

“Wonderfully realistic in his writing, Asher offers teens and parents alike a great story on an important topic.” —Green Bay Press-Gazette

“It is a brilliant debut that will leave readers feeling a sense of remorse for Hannah, guilt for Clay, and hope for the lasting lesson of the story.” —Bookazine

“Breakneck pace and dizzying emotion.”School Library Journal

“[Hannah’s] pain is gut-wrenchingly palpable. . . . Asher has created an entrancing character study and a riveting look into the psyche of someone who would make this unfortunate choice. A brilliant and mesmerizing debut from a gifted new author.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review and Editor’s Choice

“Readers won’t be able to pull themselves away.” —Publishers Weekly

“Asher's ability to convey the anguish of someone who was left behind is truly remarkable.”Book Page


WINNER OF
Association of Booksellers for Children’s “Best Books”
American Library Association’s “Best Books for Young Adults” and “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers”
Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Florida Teens Read Award
California Book Award
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Book Sense Pick
International Reading Association’s “Young Adults' Choices” Finalist
Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best Books”
Kansas State Reading Circle’s “Recommended Reading List”
New York Public Library’s “Book for the Teen Age”
16 State Award Master Lists
 

Thirteen Reasons Why is a mystery, eulogy, and ceremony. Twenty or thirty times, I snapped the book shut when a sentence, an image, or a line of dialogue was too beautiful and painful. But I, afraid and curious, would always return to this amazing book. I know, in years to come, I will often return to this book.” —Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

“Every once in a while you come across a book that you can’t get out of your mind, one you have to rush back to if you must put it down for some reason. Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those books, and is at the very top of my personal Must-Read list.” —Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Tricks, Identical, Crank, Burned, Impulse, and Glass

“A spectacular first novel. Jay Asher tells his story with such honesty and simplicity that the tragedy feels shatteringly real.” —Gordon Korman, author of Son of the Mob and Jake, Reinvented

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595141712
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/18/2007
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
99,165
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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From the Publisher
“Everything affects everything,” declares Hannah Baker, who killed herself two weeks ago. After her death, Clay Jensen—who had a crush on Hannah—finds seven cassette tapes in a brown paper package on his doorstep. Listening to the tapes, Hannah chronicles her downward spiral and the 13 people who led her to make this horrific choice. Evincing the subtle—and not so subtle—cruelties of teen life, from rumors, to reputations, to rape, Hannah explains to her listeners that, “in the end, everything matters.” Most of the novel quite literally takes place in Clay’s head, as he listens to Hannah’s voice pounding in his ears through his headphones, creating a very intimate feel for the reader as Hannah explains herself. Her pain is gut-wrenchingly palpable, and the reader is thrust face-first into a world where everything is related, an intricate yet brutal tapestry of events, people and places. Asher has created an entrancing character study and a riveting look into the psyche of someone who would make this unfortunate choice. A brilliant and mesmerizing debut from a gifted new author.—Kirkus, starred review

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