Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

4.5 4304
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


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

Jay Asher’s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative -- alternating between the girl’s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening -- this honest, poignant story reveals how other people's actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual's faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Sir?" she repeats. "How soon do you want it to get there?"

I rub two fingers, hard, over my left eyebrow. The throbbing has become intense. "It doesn't matter," I say.

The clerk takes the package. The same shoebox that sat on my porch less than twenty-four hours ago; rewrapped in a brown paper bag, sealed with clear packing tape, exactly as I had received it. But now addressed with a new name. The next name on Hannah Baker's list.

"Baker's dozen," I mumble. Then I feel disgusted for even noticing it.

"Excuse me?"

I shake my head. "How much is it?"

She places the box on a rubber pad, then punches a sequence on her keypad.

I set my cup of gas-station coffee on the counter and glance at the screen. I pull a few bills from my wallet, dig some coins out of my pocket, and place my money on the counter.

"I don't think the coffee's kicked in yet," she says. "You're missing a dollar."

I hand over the extra dollar, then rub the sleep from my eyes. The coffee's lukewarm when I take a sip, making it harder to gulp down. But I need to wake up somehow.

Or maybe not. Maybe it's best to get through the day half-asleep. Maybe that's the only way to get through today.

"It should arrive at this address tomorrow," she says. "Maybe the day after tomorrow." Then she drops the box into a cart behind her.

I should have waited till after school. I should have given Jenny one final day of peace.

Though she doesn't deserve it.

When she gets home tomorrow, or the next day, she'll find a package on her doorstep. Or if her mom or dad or someone else gets there first, maybe she'll find it on her bed. And she'll be excited. I was excited. A package with no return address? Did they forget, or was it intentional? Maybe from a secret admirer?

"Do you want your receipt?" the clerk asks.

I shake my head.

A small printer clicks one out anyway. I watch her tear the slip across the serrated plastic and drop it into a wastebasket.

There's only one post office in town. I wonder if the same clerk helped the other people on the list, those who got this package before me. Did they keep their receipts as sick souvenirs? Tuck them in their underwear drawers? Pin them up on corkboards?

I almost ask for my receipt back. I almost say, "I'm sorry, can I have it after all?" As a reminder.

But if I wanted a reminder, I could've made copies of the tapes or saved the map. But I never want to hear those tapes again, though her voice will never leave my head. And the houses, the streets, and the high school will always be there to remind me.

It's out of my control now. The package is on its way. I leave the post office without the receipt.

Deep behind my left eyebrow, my head is still pounding. Every swallow tastes sour, and the closer I get to school, the closer I come to collapsing.

I want to collapse. I want to fall on the sidewalk right there and drag myself into the ivy. Because just beyond the ivy the sidewalk curves, following the outside of the school parking lot. It cuts through the front lawn and into the main building. It leads through the front doors and turns into a hallway, which meanders between rows of lockers and classrooms on both sides, finally entering the alwaysopen door to first period.

At the front of the room, facing the students, will be the desk of Mr. Porter. He'll be the last to receive a package with no return address. And in the middle of the room, one desk to the left, will be the desk of Hannah Baker.


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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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Thirteen Reasons Why 4.5 out of 5 based on 8 ratings. 4304 reviews.
twilight_fanatic_01 More than 1 year ago
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!
pagese More than 1 year ago
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.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.

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."

Now, on to the story...

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.

And soon wishes, wholeheartedly, that he'd never picked up that stupid package from his front porch.

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.

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?

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.

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.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
JaneForman More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Sweep More than 1 year ago
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.
atran61 More than 1 year ago
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.
vampgirl00 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Three words... READ. THIS. BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely insightful, well-written, and heart-wrenching book, which I'd highly recommend. I'd take away maybe half a star at most because the complete absolution of the viewpoint character, the only boy who remains utterly blameless, seems like a cop-out to me, as if he's on the list just to be the innocent one, so that the reader, looking through his eyes, can feel "innocent" as well, can feel some distance from the subject matter. It detracts from the lesson a little bit, for me. (Just a little.) But the emotions explored and the situations presented feel very true and real nonetheless. Some of the situations might be "R-rated," sometimes terrifyingly so, but really, if they were not, do you think this girl would have felt the need to commit suicide? And do we really think kids are not already going through this stuff every day?
(I especially admire that the author makes his readers aware of the nature of predators, using the character who collects sexual "conquests" like trophies, who dehumanizes his victims. Young ladies, if you find yourself with a young man who makes you feel as if you are not there, as if you are somehow less of a person than he is, listen to your gut feelings and get the heck out. Actually, young men, get the heck out too, it's not only girls who get victimized.) Read the book and learn something that could save your life.
LovelyAlyse More than 1 year ago
I'm one of the reading junkies. I go to the book store, and pick out 3 or 4 books and read them in a week. I love to read. So when I first picked up this book, I immediately put it back down. I already knew the ending to the story. But still the cover interested me, and since I had nothing else to read, I figured "hey why not give it a shot." So I started reading (after buying and returning to my hotel to read) and I was amazed about how the story gripped me till the end. I read the order of which the tapes go in on the front cover. By the time I was in the first chapter I was already crying. And by the end of the book, people were asking me if I was okay. I loved this book. And was amazed by the imagery of it all. This book is really amazing, and I would recommend it time and time again!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 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."
Reading_Aries More than 1 year ago
Hannah made me cry as she desdribed her last days of life. Not only is this book about a girl's suicide but also of how the boy who loved her recieved the tapes she made about her last days. How he stuggled when he herd her voice describing the pain she went through and being too late to comfort her. This book tought me that the smallest things in life can scar a person till death. This book made me understand how painful words are and that the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie. If you are looking for a read in the tragic generes then this is the book you might want to read.
Bran94 More than 1 year ago
What strikes me as the most important part of the book is when Hannah tells Clay that he doesn't belong on the tape and that she was sorry for pushing him away instead of telling him what was really going on with her. I like this part because it is as if for the first time in the book you saw her opening up and not blaming someone else for what was going wrong in her life. I think the author Jay Asher is trying to say that everything you say or do to someone can affect them eternally even if they crack a smile or laugh it off it can still hurt and that you should do to someone what you would want done to you. Another thing I took away from the book is to not take life for granted because there are people that go through way worse than you but are still able to keep their head held high and keep a positive attitude. I do believe that the author did a good job of teaching this lesson. Everyone whether you are in high school or the real world goes through so much. People talking behind your back, rumors being made about you, and so much more that it just seems as if the world would be a much better place if we were all able to treat one another with respect even if it is someone you are not a fan of. Hannah Baker committed suicide and before she left she thought that she should leave something behind so that some people would better understand why she did what she did. She created thirteen tapes with thirteen reasons hints the name as to why she committed suicide. Clay Jenson was next to receive the tapes. He is shocked to hear her voice and it brings so much pain to his ears because one thing Hannah didn't know was that he was secretly in love with her. Clay goes on a journey to all of the places Hannah named that the events happened at because he wanted to feel what Hannah felt and see what Hannah saw. The things Clay heard would change his life forever but he would always know how Hannah really felt. Hannah went to her guidance counselor to tell him how she was feeling. She thought that since he was certified to deal with people that had problems talking to someone else that it couldn't hurt to try he was her last resort. She sat down and told him about what happened at a party and that she witnessed something that would change that person's life if they knew what happened to them but they were passed out. The counselor tells her to forget what she saw and move on. And with that she left waiting for him to come running after her to give her better advice but he didn't. Later on she committed suicide but not by hanging herself but by taking pills. She didn't want it to be to gruesome so she made it seem as if it were an accident. This example shows that she was still in denial about the fact that this was partially her fault and in this book you always saw that there were two parts to every story and her part was always playing victim. In closing Jay Asher's TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY was an ingenious work of art that made me reflect on how I have treated people in my past and my present life. It has showed me that people can grow through way worse things everyday of their lives and you not even know it. Life is hard and for others it is a constant hell on earth but this book has taught me many things and of those many things the most important thing I pulled away from this book is to love you no matter what, because before you love someone else you have to love yourself first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many people told me to read this book. They told me what it was about and I was super stoked to read it. I read it in about an hour. The reason I read it so fast was because I couldn't wait for it to be done. If these are reasons to kill yourself almost every single teenage girl should be dead. This book is so stupid. I'm sorry but she was just whiny, and I didn't feel any sympathy for her. The worst thing that happened to her only happened because she had already decided to kill herself. All the other reason why were nothing. They were little things that happen to people all the time. These are not things to kill yourself over. It was very much not worth reading. It wasn't really even one star worthy in my opinion.
CLEO_1 More than 1 year ago
This Book Is So Good. Jay Asher Can Really Write. This Book Makes You Question What You Do In Life and will make you think twice before you make front of some one or do something bad. If you are into teen novels this is definitely a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've thought of it many times. What you may ask? Suicide, of course. I feel like I can relate to this book in a way all of my own. Throughout the book, I thought to myself 'What are my thirteen reasons why...' This book is perfect for anybody who feels like they have already been pushed to the ground and can't be pushed any farther...until it's too late. It's also a book for those people who make fun of kids, even if they are their friends. Thirteen Reasons Why is just one of those books that come around once in a lifetime and teach you a lesson that will stick with you for the rest of the days that you may live. So, thank you Jay Asher for teaching me that!
Gabriele_Mastro More than 1 year ago I am Gabriele Mastro, a student at Hewitt-Trussville High School in Alabama. In Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a boy named Clay Jensen comes home from school to a package with his name on it. When Clay opens this mysterious package, there are thirteen tapes in it. He is surprised to hear Hannah Baker's voice on these tapes, because Hannah had recently committed suicide. Hannah leaves instructions to listen to these tapes of thirteen reasons why she committed suicide and then to pass them on to the next person responsible for her death. Clay spends the night listening to the tapes, and finds out why Hannah committed suicide. Clay faces the truth that he wishes he never had to face. I really enjoyed Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. This novel was so suspenseful and made me want to keep turning the page. It deals with the serious issue of suicide, which I think can make some impact on the reader. It teaches to be more aware of how you treat others because you never know what others are going through in their life, and you would not want to add to their pain. It taught me that people do have an impact on others, whether you notice it or not. I would recommend this book to any girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing. I'm a teenager, and I enjoy reading books about suicide, and whatnot. I honestly loved this book. This is by far one of my favorite books i've ever read. But any of you people, saying this book didn't do a good job of making you visualize how the characters looked, or what the surroundings were like, you didn't pay that close attention to the details given. The characters and scenes were VERY descriptive and honestly, for this being Jay Asher's first book, he did a pretty damn good job on it. The reason for the tapes, as Jay said, was because you can't keep up with technology nowadays. Its always changing. I thought it was a very unique way of telling the story, and getting it across to all of the people. I see how Hannah was affected by each one of the people on the tapes. It all made sense. I honestly loved this book, and i will for sure recommend this book to many people. And for those people saying, this book is like a ticking bomb, waiting to fall into the wrong suicidal teens hands, sure, it could trigger, but honestly, its going to open their eyes more. This book has changed the way i look at life. This book keeps you hooked. Once you read a little, you're not stopping. Its such a good book, i cannot stress this enough. Seriously, if you get the chance, READ THIS BOOK!!!!! I really want this book to become a series, or at least have a second book following, about how after the people on the tapes reacted, how it changed their lives, the school, etc. I think it would be very interesting. I am now, going to go read The Future of Us, by Jay and another author, because this book, is absolutely amazing, and i think this other book, will be just as good as this one. For anyone who stuck through this whole review, thank you. (: OVERALL---- Read this book, and I will recommend this book to others in the future. No doubt. (Forgive any spelling errors, typing on my nook, not realizing some of the errors)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely not worth buying. It was very difficult to get through. The book seems to go a little slow after it gets to the main character's role. I was so bored with it that I never even got to the ending.
Chloe Decaire More than 1 year ago
I cant seem to find a reason to read this book anymore. The characters where so....frustrating. Hannah Baker took her own life for thirteen reasons. True the reasons were traumatic. But if she had a different perspective on life she might not have. All of the reasons were for rumors. If she was a mature person she would have ignored them. Not cry like a kindergardner. The adults were useless. They didnt lesson to a single thing anybody had to say, or took a single action to help a depressed girl. I just couldnt identify with any of them. If the author wanted to write about teen suicide then he should have picked something that stuck with the reader. Not a girl that swallowed some pills and strangely she was slightly rational to make the tapes. What a waste of my time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While reading the book, I thought it was alright and at some points a bit exciting. It wasn't great, but it was good enough to want to continue and find out what happens in the rest of the story. After I read it I had to write a report on it. I could not find one good reason out of the thirteen that explained why Hannah committed suicide. I did not feel bad for her, I felt bad for the people Hannah blamed for her suicide. Hannah did two terrible things; killed herself for unjustified reasons, and she put a lifetime's worth of guilt on the poor people who had to listen to her casette tapes.