Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Personal Copy
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.

I used to wonder what kind of tragedy that happens in one’s life that eventually leads to suicide. What sort of hardship that the person has to face till he/she thinks this life is not worth living anymore? In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah Baker tells us her story and in some ways, she did answer part of the questions that I have in mind. Who would have thought that some small, silly actions could cause a snowball effects that ruined a soul and be the ending of someone’s world? In this book, Hannah - in her very own way - explains to us “Why”.

Jay Asher successfully nailed readers’ attention with his frank and concise writing in Thirteen Reasons Why. Despite knowing how the book will end and having this uneasy feeling about the subject matter, I found myself continue to leaf through, trying to dive into Hannah’s world and truly understand how she feels about everything that had transpired. Hannah – to me – is not really a complicated character but the situations harden her. It is very easy for readers to recognise how different her “voice” sounds like as she slowly unravels one thing after another that finally leads to her decision to commit suicide.

Hannah begins as a cheery person, then turns sarcastic, angry and being downright distraught towards the end when she finally believes that no one is there to pull her out of the sinkhole she’s currently in. It is sad to see how “implicitly” she tried to reach out but nobody can really hear her. Can we really blame her for not crying out loud, directly tell people that she needs help? Or is it the others fault that they didn’t take time to really listen to her? These are amongst the many questions that linger in my head after I finished reading this book.

Asher is indeed an excellent writer as the simple words he used in Thirteen Reasons Why managed to instill such intricate, multi-layered emotions and let readers feel how is it like to be in Hannah’s shoes. Kudos Jay Asher!

Memorable Quote: You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And 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. Everything. . . affects everything


  1. So intense! Great review, though. I'd love to read this book sometime, because I don't read many books that deal with this topic.

  2. I really disliked her reasons. I thought she was whiny and jaded.

  3. I've been meaning to read this one for quite awhile now. It is such an important book. Glad to see you recommend it!

  4. @Pam: I've to agree that Hannah is not totally a likeable character throughout the book. Her reasons to commit suicide were indeed illogical but as a whole, suicide itself is an inconceivable action. It is such a convoluted matter that I don't think can be easily explained nor understood.

  5. Hi Shy,

    Thanks for taking part in Radiant Reviews :)

    I've read some good reviews for this book and as much as I really want to read it, I really worry that I would just sit and cry through the whole thing. The memorable quote that you've picked out is really powerful and so, so true. Great review!

  6. I have this book on my TBR stack but I have been hesitating to read it. We had a recent student suicide and I don't know if I am ready to deal with the emotions.

  7. Sounds very appealing and interesting. But very emotional too. Nice review Shy.

  8. I have this book on my wishlist but shy away from getting it because of the heart-breaking story. I really like the idea with the cassette tapes.

  9. I really enjoyed this book! Great review! I'm now following you!

    -Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish

  10. it was one of the things i contemplated are her reasons enough i still don't know, i adored this book and it really effected me great review

  11. Great review - I loved this book - it really made me think and has stuck with me even though I read it months ago.

  12. I bought this one on my kindle after reading Sheila's wonderful review. And now your review just reinforces that I must get to this one soon!

  13. Oh I am so glad you enjoyed this one! Yes Hannah is selfish and immature in her decision making - but she is a teen and we were once there. I remember when I thought my world would collapse over a boy, or an argument with a friend - let alone if you just didn't fit in because you were new or different. We wore our emotions so close to the surface.

    I still rave about this book! Excellent review!