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Thirteen Reasons Why Hardcover – October 18, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 3,191 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jay Asher's debut YA novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, has appeared regularly on the New York Times bestsellers list for the past nine years. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States alone and is currently in production to be a thirteen-part series on Netflix. His second YA novel, The Future of Us, was coauthored with Printz Honor winner Carolyn Mackler. He is also the author of the forthcoming What Light. His novels have been translated into thirty-five languages. Visit his blog at www.jayasher.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @jayasherguy.

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

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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: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
...to know that I'm not the only one who thought this book was exasperating beyond measure. A friend advised me to read it and she raved about it so I was expecting it to be beyond awesome. I finished it in one evening (it's definitely a page turner) but it just left me feeling fed up with Hannah. I've had my own share of suicidal thoughts, etc so it's not as if I couldn't relate to the character. But I just found myself questioning the whole premise of the book. I understand that most readers found it thought provoking in regards to how our actions can so deeply affect those around us and it does cause you to examine your own actions and behavior towards others.

That said, I think creating a very elaborate map and set of tapes for 13 people and essentially blackmailing them into listening to the tapes just reeks of a vindictive, selfish individual. Perhaps her tapes didn't affect all her listeners as deeply as they affect the narrator but, if it were me, I would be devastated and scarred for life if I received a suicide message along those lines. It's one thing to go back to people who have harmed you and say "Hey, you messed up and you really hurt me. Just wanted you to know" and to move on with your life (with the help of a good therapist in Hannah's situation) but it's another thing to say "Hey, here are a set of tapes that describe all the detailed slights and harms that have been done to me and you can feel horrifically guilty for the rest of your life because I'm DEAD now! So there!"

Yes, some of those people did some horrible things. I'm not excusing their actions. But I also think most of those people honestly didn't know Hannah well. I have no clue what is going on in the private lives of most of the people I see every day.
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Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why is exactly the kind of book teenagers don't need in their lives. It's the psychological fantasy "If I kill myself, they'll be so sorry!" brought to life. I started the book with high hopes; my daughter had recommended it. There is no question that it's a gripping tale--I won't argue with that. The problem is that the main character Hannah--the girl who commits suicide--apparently does so as a way to punish other people, yet she is rational enough not only to create a fairly lengthy diatribe against a bunch of her peers but also to find a way to make that diatribe very public. Yes, some of them need to feel ashamed of themselves; some of them need to be incarcerated, for that matter. Hannah takes the easy way out, though, in the long run, which I found offensive, if not downright maudlin.

I guess one of the things that most bothered me about the book was Hannah's decision to leave the teacher/counselor with apparently the biggest burden of guilt for her choice to commit suicide. From the outset, I assumed he had done something quite awful; her taped instructions were that, as the last recipient on the list, he could take her confession with him "to hell." Later she mentions in passing that this tape might cause someone to "lose a job." Since the teacher's the only one with an actual job, I pieced together that she must be talking about him. So I read on, figuring he'd abused her, insulted her, berated her. . .something. Instead, we find only that he tries to listen to her, and doesn't chase her down when she runs from his office after seeking his advice a grand total of one time.

This does nothing if not glorify suicide as a viable way out, a way of getting revenge on those who have wronged you. I don't recommend it.
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