Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

77%

38 Critic Reviews

Asher expertly paces the narrative, splicing Hannah's tale with Clay's mounting anxiety and fear. Just what has he done? Readers won't be able to pull themselves away until that question gets answered...Asher knows how to entertain an audience; this book will leave readers eager to see what he does next.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Eerie, beautiful, and devastating.” —Chicago Tribune

“A stealthy hit with staying power. . . . thriller-like pacing.” —The New York Times

Thirteen Reasons Why will leave you with chills long after you have finished reading.” —Amber Gibson, NPR’s “All Things Considered”
 

You can’t stop the future. 

You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.
               
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Jay Asher

See more books from this Author
Jas Asher got the idea for Thirteen Reasons Why at a museum. While taking an audio tour, her was struck by the eeriness of the voice in his ear...a woman who described exactly what he was looking at, but wasn't there. Jay lives on the central coast of California.
 
Published June 14, 2011 by Razorbill. 316 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Children's Books, Self Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Thirteen Reasons Why
All: 38 | Positive: 34 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

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...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.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Aug 07 2015

Asher expertly paces the narrative, splicing Hannah's tale with Clay's mounting anxiety and fear. Just what has he done? Readers won't be able to pull themselves away until that question gets answered...Asher knows how to entertain an audience; this book will leave readers eager to see what he does next.

Read Full Review of Thirteen Reasons Why | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by smileyblondeee on Jul 13 2015

A beautifully written, tragic book that will touch your heart. Jay Asher has done such a wonderful job and I will be looking to read more of his work in the future.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Esther37 on Feb 03 2015

In case you were wondering, I would not recommend this book. I couldn't empathize with the characters and out of the many teen novels I have read, it definitely does not stand out as one of the best.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by jboo1698 on Dec 27 2014

I leave this review with saying well done to Jay Asher. I really enjoyed this book and it's a really well written novel.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ellam25 on Nov 22 2014

...Jay Asher's book is definitely a story you remember because you start to think about life and different people's attitudes and behaviour. You begin to learn that the actions you do can potentially affect someone's life.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by ABitCrazy on Dec 17 2013

I really hope Jay Asher writs more inspiring novels! And I hope lots of people continue to read this one. I would highly recommend reading it...I read it in just a couple of days because I could hardly bear the idea of putting it down. I would rate it 5 stars 100%. Incredibly inspiring book!

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by dewdrop on Dec 08 2013

I adored this book. The author seems to be able to observe normal people to inject into his characters, because everything else I've seen has not managed to do so...It's not the plot that I loved so much, although it's original in its own right; it's the complex thoughts and emotions that the character expresses.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kathryn Hughes on Jan 23 2010

This first book by Jay Asher is remarkable for its technical elegance in weaving words from Hannah's tapes with Clay's reactions and memories...What it manages to do very effectively is ask its teen readers to think carefully about how being part of a herd can mean trampling weaker, peripheral members.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Marina on Nov 10 2011

If anything, Thirteen Reasons Why gives teens the opportunity to evaluate the way in which their behaviors impact others...With so much education in the schools focused on bullying, I recommend Thirteen Reasons Why for teens to develop foresight in terms of their potential impact on others.

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Dear Author

Excellent
Reviewed by Guest Reviewer on Jun 01 2009

What I want to say to the readers out there is this. Read this book, it just might change your life, too. It might make you think about your daily actions in a new way. It might make you think about someone other than yourself, or about how you affect others.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Provenzano on Jun 27 2013

This book is unique and heart-wrenching. The chapters are broken down into each side of each tape, so that the reader can follow along with Clay as he listens to Hannah’s suicide note...This story is haunting, but it needed to be told. It’s won a number of well-deserved awards and is one that everyone should to read.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Corey Daniel on Jun 14 2013

Asher not only touches his reader’s heart due to the characters he creates and the journey they go on but, ultimately, because each reader can look back and recognize themselves in some part of the book.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Sean Chumley on Jul 07 2011

An interesting character study of a suicidal teen, Asher doesn't hold back when it comes to high school gossip and teenage sexuality...In turns sweet, harsh, heartbreaking, enlightening and bold, Thirteen Reasons Why can be a wake-up call, not just for teens who might be considering suicide, or for bullies--but for adults as well.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Meigan Montoya on Jul 02 2011

Hannah’s tapes are a virtual witch hunt, calling to blame all of the people these tapes are sent to...With Hannah’s tale being told through her voice, and seen through Clay’s eyes, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is a vibrant, yet shadowed tale of a girl so beaten down, she found her only solace in death.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard on May 07 2010

Author Jay Asher skillfully navigates between Hannah’s post-mortem storytelling and Clay’s emotional reactions. He lets us in on Hannah’s day-to-day ups and downs, focusing on the “snowball effect” that put the wheels of her decision in motion...Hannah’s story reminds adults why it is important to take the concerns of teens seriously...

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by Zoe Page on Feb 02 2015

The format of the book pretty much answers this question. It flits between two voices, narrated by Clay now, and by Hannah then. She provides long monologues, he butts in with his opinions on what she's saying...it was an extraordinary, haunting read I sped through in a single afternoon, unable as I was to put it down.

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Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Kristi Olson on Jun 14 2011

The author does a flawless job of building the story with the unique structure of alternating Hannah’s voice on the tapes with Clay’s as he listens in real time. The reader is immediately drawn in and, like Clay, wants to uncover Hannah’s secrets --- and, more importantly, the reasons why she felt her life had to end so tragically.

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About.com

Above average
Reviewed by Madeleine Burry on Jul 27 2015

Jay Asher's debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, is tragically dark - I found the book both difficult to read and difficult to put down...The first half of the novel was stronger than the second, particularly the ending which I found a bit heavy-handed...Still, Hannah's narration is lyrical and poignant...

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Common Sense Media

Above average
Reviewed by Terreece Clarke on Jul 27 2015

First-time author Jay Asher's story presents the dark side of teen life: drinking, sex, rumor mills, suicides, cries for help, inept or absent adults, and the mean spirit that surrounds the general high school student body...Teens will identify with the sometimes-oppressive culture of high school.

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The Young Folks

Good
Reviewed by Sylvia Boyadzhyan on Mar 16 2014

This book is particularly relevant to todays society, it discusses bullying in a way that would not bore the audience but actually intrigue them into understanding the depth and complexity that lays behind the word, “bully”. It also helps us see that there is more then one or even two sides to the same story...

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Youth Services Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Sharon Colvin on May 28 2013

The book deals with a very serious subject matter and really allows readers to understand the subject. It was really well written as well and I was able to understand the emotions that the characters were feeling.

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Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

Excellent
Reviewed by curledupkids on Jul 27 2015

Thirteen Reasons Why was such a delightful surprise! I loved the premise when I read about it on someone's blog, but I didn't expect it to be this good...One thing that people don't often think of when they're depressed is how peripheral people will feel...this book will help readers...realize how wide a net they actually cast.

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Break Point

Above average
Reviewed by Gina Dalfonzo on Mar 11 2013

“Thirteen Reasons Why,” the popular debut novel by Jay Asher, is a dark and sobering read. Hannah’s story is full of the grim details that characterize so much of teenage life today, the kind of details that adults hate to think about...Parents should give some serious thought to whether their kids can handle this book...

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by WonderFulWriter on Aug 08 2015

This book is honestly amazing. 13 Reasons Why will make you smile in satisfaction, cry in frustration, and revaluate your life choices. Joy Asher helps the readers comprehend the typical teenage life in a different perspective...is a mature book with emotionally draining content so my recomendation would be at least 14 of age and above.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Teenage_Read on Aug 08 2015

Jay Asher is an amazing author. He captures the pain Hanna went through and Clay's pain in hearing it. It could have been confusing going back and forth between Clay and Hanna as narrators, but Asher made it work.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by -alice- on Aug 08 2015

In truth, while this wasn't a challenging or overwhelmingly long book, but it hooked me emotionally from the first chapter, and the characters were so real that I could picture them in my head doing all these things. I could hear Hannah's voice on the tapes, with the static of a recorder in the background...

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Stefne on Aug 08 2015

With its almost eerie tone, Thirteen Reasons Why is the perfectly balanced suspense and mystery novel. With spectacular honesty and a strong voice, Jay Asher touches on the extremely sensitive topic of suicide...This riveting and brilliant novel made me want to be the best person possible to everyone around me...

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Before It's News

Good
on Nov 29 2013

The author treats this topic with understanding and sensitivity, and I’d recommend this book to teens and adults alike. Apart from suicide, this book also touches on a lot of other hot topics kids have to deal with, and at the very least it gave me a lot to think about. Thirteen Reasons Why is a superb book which I’m glad I read...

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Book Journey

Above average
Reviewed by Sheila on Jul 26 2015

As I write this I still have all these players – all these characters – swirling around in my head. I think what sticks with me most is that this is a fictional story that could easily be real.

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Reading for Sanity

Good
Reviewed by Kari on Apr 01 2012

The whole set up is intricately detailed and purposeful, down to the order the tapes are recorded in. And while this sounds very disturbing (and it kind of is) it sets up the book to be a fantastic mystery. I wasn't quite sure how everything fit together until the very end, which for me is a bonus.

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Good Book Fairy

Above average
Reviewed by Good Book Fairy on Oct 01 2014

There is no doubt in my mind that every incoming high school freshman across the land should read this book. It’ll resonate with all kids in some way, shape or form and hopefully, give insight to many on the power of rumors, gossip, bullying and trust.

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It's All About Books

Good
Reviewed by Suey on Sep 09 2013

The thing I learned from this book, and the thing I think all teenagers should learn if they do read this book, is please please please talk to other kids... I'm finally glad to have read this powerful book that makes an important statement... look out for each other and be friends!

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Lost in a Great Book

Above average
Reviewed by Lost in a Great Book on Aug 14 2011

I had a very hard time reading this book; this was one where I had to put it down and walk away a few times, but ultimately I can say that this is a completely absorbing read, and well worth the time if you can work your way through the subject matter.

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YA Love

Above average
Reviewed by Mrs. Andersen on Feb 22 2012

Overall, I’d have to say this book is disappointing. I thought I kind of liked it, but after a few days, I couldn’t remember what happened in the book...Thirteen Reasons Why sounds like an interesting book, but I could have done without it. I’d only recommend it to people who like books that switch between time periods and/or people.

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Parental Book Reviews

Good
on Aug 04 2015

It was a difficult issue, but I thought it was very well written and I'm glad I read it. It really held my interest, as it was written kind of like a mystery. You know the end result, but you don't know the pieces to the puzzle. I would definitely read it again!

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The Mountains of Instead

Above average
Reviewed by Polka-Dot Steph on Mar 26 2015

For me, Thirteen Reasons Why isn't primarily a book about suicide. It's a story of grief and acceptance and acknowledgement...I enjoyed it greatly. It's accessible without being simple and thought-provoking without being preachy...

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Discombobulated Books

Above average
Reviewed by Discombobulated Books on Aug 20 2013

It wasn’t bad, no, it really wasn’t. But somehow, though I’ve never read any other books in this specific genre, it felt cliché. It felt like the bare bones of what a book about suicide needed to achieve.

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Reader Rating for Thirteen Reasons Why
84%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 6149 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Jennifer Parsons 9 Mar 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Jennifer Parsons 5 Sep 2013

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