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Thirteen Reasons Why Hardcover – October 18, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; 1st edition (October 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141712
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he's surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He's one of 13 people who receive Hannah's story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah's voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah's voice (italicized) and Clay's thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading. Give this to fans of Gail Giles psychological thrillers. Dobrez, Cindy

Review

“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

More About the Author

Jay Asher has worked at an independent bookstore, an outlet bookstore, a chain bookstore, and two public libraries. He hopes, someday, to work for a used bookstore. When he is not writing, Jay plays guitar and goes camping. Thirteen Reasons Why is his first published novel.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#59 in Books > Teens
#59 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
1,370
4 star
385
3 star
176
2 star
98
1 star
107
See all 2,136 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to teens and to adults.
Natalie C
This book makes you think about how much one little thing you say or do to someone can change them completely and affect them.
Pallison
From the time I started reading the first page, I was unable to put down the book.
Christopher Duke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

370 of 405 people found the following review helpful By Maudeen Wachsmith VINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished this -- and I am telling you it was compelling. It should be required reading by anyone in high school or middle school -- or anyone who has a child in high school or middle school. Basically it tells of Clay Jensen, a high school student who receives a box of audiotapes narrated by a girl who he had a crush on, Hannah Baker, who has recently committed suicide. The book interweaves her words from the audiotapes with his comments and memories. It gives Hannah's reasons why she did what she did and names the people (who also are receiving audiotapes - each person is to mail them to the next person on the list) and why they contributed to what happened. It may have been something big, somewhat small, something seemingly innocent, something no so much. But it all leads up to Hannah not being able to cope by herself even when she reaches out for help. If anyone can read this and see themselves in it and make changes - or even better see someone else and reach out in compassion, this book will have a huge effect.
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103 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I work with seriously emotionally disturbed children, teenagers and families. I read this book because some of the teens I was working with were very taken by it. I found it to be a very simplified caricature of a suicidal teen. Having worked with actual people who are actually suicidal, I can tell you, the '13 Reasons' that Hannah killed herself wouldn't have even made the list for most people contemplating suicide. It may sound harsh, but, barring any serious underlying mental illness (to which there was no reference), Hannah would never have killed herself for the reasons stated.

This is such a popular book, and unfortunately it does a real disservice to teens in their understanding of suicide and what to do about it. The idea that a counselor, upon hearing that a student was considering suicide, let her walk away without contacting her parents is unthinkable. Aside from this being unethical (which, granted some therapist's are), no therapist would ever think to act in such away due to the legal ramifications. Even the most incompetent would have immediately gotten Hannah help.

Aside from the above issues, comes the underlying message. What was it? Be nice to people or they might kill themselves? Be on high alert for people who seem sad? Mostly what I got out of it was that you are responsible for others actions. It seems very one sided. In truth, we all do cruel things, we can all think back on times when, for one reason or another we behaved badly. To say that human error deserves such retribution is alarming. Not only that, this idea of post-death vindictiveness is a very attractive idea to teenagers who feel misunderstood and unheard.
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185 of 214 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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113 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Amy from Pittsburgh on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In his debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher submits his entry into the adolescent literature genre that has boasted such modern classics as The Book Thief, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Speak in the past 15 years. The book is an International best seller and has been translated into 31 languages.

Which is frankly mind-boggling.

The premise is intriguing enough - after killing herself, Hannah Baker sends 13 tapes to 13 different people detailing her story and how each one of them was in some way responsible for her decision to commit suicide. The story is told through Clay Jensen, one of the 13 who receives the tapes and contributes to Hannah's demise. Now that we got through the best part of this book - the summary on the back - let's move on to where it failed, which is everywhere else.

Though the plot does make for an interesting dust jacket read, stylistically, Asher fails. The entire thing reads like chunks of exposition. We are getting Hannah's story in Hannah's voice, through the tapes, through Clay. This choice leads to a feeling of too many degrees of separation, a disconnect between the readers and the girl we're supposed to feel sorry for.

Speaking of Hannah, rather than sympathizing with her, I spent the majority of the book wishing this petulant brat had chosen a more violent end (she only takes pills). The character's tone throughout the novel is spiteful, vindictive, and petty. The girl on the tapes sounds, not like a depressed teenager truly wanting people to understand how their actions affected her, but more as if she just wanted to send all the mean people in high school on massive guilt trips. She takes some sort of perverse, villainous pleasure out of all this; I was picturing her twirling her cartoon mustache.
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