Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher May 25, 2012

Filed under: Fiction,Realistic,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 6:52 am
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Thirteen Reasons Why

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The Facts

288 pages; published October 2007

The Basics

Before Hannah Baker took a fatal dose of pills, she created a set of tapes that tells the story of 13 people and 13 incidents that are her central reasons for taking her life. Tonight, the tapes arrive at the home of Clay Jensen, who had a crush on Hannah and who connected with her at a party only days before her death.


“Hello, boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo. No return engagements. No encore. And this time, absolutely no requests. I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

Those are the words that introduce Clay Jensen to the most difficult and emotional night of his life. He had a big crush on Hannah. He already surviving the confusing sadness of her suicide. Now – when it’s too late – he is about to learn what was really going on with Hannah. He’ll find out the truth about moments in her life he already knew about, and learn about secrets he never could have imagined, all the while waiting miserably to learn where he fits in to her 13 reasons why.

As the sad, complicated story unfolds, Clay sees how people’s actions and disregard work together toward a terrible final moment.

“When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life.”

Random Thoughts

I avoided reading this book for a long time because I thought it would be sad. I was right. It is brilliantly written and devastatingly sad.


  • South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2010)
  • Florida Teens Read (2008)
  • Georgia Peach Honor Book Award (2009)
  • Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice
  • California Book Award
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2013)

One Response to ““Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher”

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