Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons WhyGenre: YA Contemporary
Published: June 14, 2011 by Penguin Group Inc.
Length: 336 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

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.”


I was hooked on from the moment I read the first page. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is about Hannah Baker, a high school girl, who committed suicide, but before she ended her life, she recorded herself saying the reasons why she killed herself. There are thirteen people to blame, including Clay. Hannah and Clay are the ones telling the story. They don’t alternate like “Chapter 1: Hannah” “Chapter 2: Clay”. They both narrate in each chapter which got me annoyed at first. Clay would be listening to the tapes while Hannah tells her reason(s), and then Clay would make a side-comment. Hannah would be in italics and Clay would be in regular font. It was a little bit annoying because while I was concentrated and synced-in in Hannah’s story, Clay would just randomly pop up and say his opinion. It’s kind of like you’re driving fast on a highway and suddenly an orange cone is thrown at you. I got used to the writing style though.

These two characters are very realistic and relatable. Clay and Hannah both go to the same school, but have only spoken once or twice. I could totally relate to Clay because what he felt and did was just very realistic. I would have felt and done the same thing. For Hannah, I had a love-hate relationship with her character. I just didn’t like how she wasn’t straightforward at times. Like, do I look like a magic 8 ball that would guess what you’re thinking? At times, Clay also thought of that (that people can’t guess what you’re thinking) and I felt the same way! While reading, I’d just be like “Hannah, I know it’s difficult, but just spill it!” Sometimes I had to read between the lines too, and it took me a while to know what Hannah was trying to say which was a bit annoying as well.

What really got me in this book was the 2nd to the last tape (Hannah’s last reason of why she killed herself). I seriously cried while I was reading that whole chapter. Ugh! That scene was very powerful and just sad!

Overall I would highly recommend this book especially if you are a YA contemporary lover, or if you’re in the mood to read a very sad, depressing book.

4 of 5

15 Responses to “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher”

  1. 1 kezia1098 September 11, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    I’ve heard that this book was good too! I would probably read this to test if I would cry or not but since I’m not in the mood for something sad…I guess I will pass on this for now (: I’m already depressed with school I guess I need something lighter and more fun. Thanks for the review! ^^

  2. 3 Janina (@Synchro_Reading) September 11, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    I really enjoyed this book and thought it was good. It was definitely a sad book for me. I’m glad you enjoyed this and I found the characters realistic as well. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  3. 4 Jeann @ Happy Indulgence September 11, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    I have read so many good things about this book and your review has again reminded me that I should pick it up soon. I’ll keep it in mind when I’m looking for your next heavy read. Thanks!

  4. 5 Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink) September 11, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    What didn’t work for me was how I never connected with the characters at all. But it’s nice to hear that you enjoyed it, because it has all the potential to be a great read!

  5. 6 Sarah @ Kitties Like Books Too September 11, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    I’ve read this book! It’s so good – but so terribly sad. A whole box of tissues is needed to read this LOL. Great review. 🙂

  6. 7 Nara September 11, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I didn’t particularly like the way the characters kept interrupting each others’ sections either. I actually listened to this book as an audiobook and I think it’s one of the rare cases where the narrative lends itself better in the audiobook format than in print. I’ve read it in print as well, and I definitely found it much smoother to hear the voices. (It still remains one of only two audiobooks I’ve ever listened to)
    Nice review Leigh 🙂

  7. 8 Kayla Sanchez September 11, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I have this one on my shelf, waiting to be read, and now I think I’ll make sure I get to it sooner rather than later. Thanks for the push!

  8. 9 Arial at In Italics September 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I had forgotten about the dual narration. While I don’t remember that part, I could understand how it would be a little distracting.
    This book is pretty powerful and emotional, and for that reason I haven’t reread it yet, but I think I will soon. I’m so glad that you really enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why.

  9. 10 Lil Berry September 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I experienced this book in audiobook maybe it helped me detach myself and not cry during the last part of the book.
    I agree that both characters feel realistic and that Hannah gets a little difficult at times.
    Great review

  10. 11 Cambrie September 12, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    I really need to read this book, after hearing so much good about it! Geez, where have I been?!
    Great review!
    ~Cambrie xoxo

  11. 12 readerswonderland September 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I love a great cast of characters, especially ones that are easy to relate to. The POV does sound a bit confusing but I’m glad that it didn’t distract from the overall book.

  12. 13 Belle Read September 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    I wanted to read Thirteen Reasons Why at one point and then just kind of forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder and for your great review.

  13. 14 Bri @ To The Moon and More September 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Was sad, and it was good, though I didn’t like 13 Reasons Why much I do like your review. I completely agree on how you feel on Hannah’s character, ’cause honestly I was really ambivalent towards her. Great review and happy reading! c:

  14. 15 Sarah J September 22, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I’m happy that you enjoyed this book, Leigh! It’s always great to see people that love this book and are still discovering its beauty.

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