Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

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...

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Title:Thirteen Reasons Why
Author:Jay Asher
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Edition Language:English

Thirteen Reasons Why Reviews

  • Emma Giordano

    I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. I had heard very mixed things for some time and it seemed a lot of readers were very divided on this book, but I personally really loved it.

    I do want to say I don't think this is 100% the best book in the world for depression/suicide, but I do believe it is an intersting narrative on how suicide impacts those affected, considering suicide is never a singular action. I also don't necessarily *agree* with the content of the book as guilting and blaming those who's

    I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. I had heard very mixed things for some time and it seemed a lot of readers were very divided on this book, but I personally really loved it.

    I do want to say I don't think this is 100% the best book in the world for depression/suicide, but I do believe it is an intersting narrative on how suicide impacts those affected, considering suicide is never a singular action. I also don't necessarily *agree* with the content of the book as guilting and blaming those who's actions drove Hannah to her death is not an appropriate response that we should approve of, but I also don't feel this book condoned that idea. Maybe the author did not go about things in the best way (in my personal opinion) but I do think the message that your actions influence others in ways you may not realize came across well. The path to get there was not perfect, but the execution was.

    I also despise the reviews on here saying that "Hannah had no excuse to kill herself, she was not depressed enough and it wasn't believable for her to commit suicide because of these reasons." Excuse me? Work on your stigma regarding people with mental illness. I am SO SO SORRY that you feel someone who is a victim of bullying, sexual harassment,t sexual assault, who reaches out for help and is told to "move on" is not a "good enough excuse to kill themselves" but I am NOT HERE for delegitimizing one's personal suffering because it wasn't something you have experienced. God forbid my reason for being depressed was a chemical imbalance in my brain, can't imagine what you'd think of MY excuse for attempting suicide *rolls eyes*.

    Depression manifests in a multitude of ways. People commit suicide for a variety of reasons. I've been diagnosed with clinical depressed and spent most of my adolescence in a cycle of self harm and suicidal ideation. Can I related to Hannah Baker? No, I cannot. Our stories are very different. But that does not mean it is impossible for her experience to exist, or that others will be unable to relate to what this poor girl went through. If you view life through a singular lens, I promise, you will continually be let down by those who's lives do not perfectly mirror your own.

    I also want to note that I DO see why this book has upset so many people. I really do see the perspective of others who disagree with this book and don't feel it achieved what it was trying to, I just personally feel differently.

    Overall, I really really enjoying the mere HOURS it took me to devour this book. It was a great experience and I'm glad I read it!

  • Emily May

    Sometimes it's hard to see why other people might dislike a book you enjoy, but with

    , I can understand it perfectly.

    It is told from the perspective of Clay, but is mostly about the life of Hannah - a girl who recently killed herself. After her death, Clay receives a set of cassette tapes on which Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to

    Sometimes it's hard to see why other people might dislike a book you enjoy, but with

    , I can understand it perfectly.

    It is told from the perspective of Clay, but is mostly about the life of Hannah - a girl who recently killed herself. After her death, Clay receives a set of cassette tapes on which Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself. And he is one of them.

    It is extremely compelling - unputdownable almost - but a problem many readers have is that the book relies on your sympathy for Hannah to effectively relay its message, and yet Hannah comes off as bratty, selfish and ofttimes over-sensitive. Many of her "reasons" are things that everyone has experienced at some point and people generally file those under "bad days" and definitely don't kill themselves because of it.

    But actually,

    . As a suicide survivor, I even related to her at times. And, though I don't attempt to speak for everyone, I feel in a position to attest that there can be something bratty and selfish about suicide.

    I think this book captured a certain feeling very well and I disagree with those who thought Hannah wasn't realistically suicidal. It's true that nobody kills themselves because they get stood up, and nobody kills themselves because some douche groped their ass, and nobody kills themselves because of a mean rumour...

    .

    People like to look for clear-cut reasons that make sense. They want Hannah to give a good reason why she killed herself. But, in reality, it so rarely is one big reason you can point to. Most of the time, the little things all build up, day after day, one small thing after another, until the little reasons all blend into a single feeling of hopelessness.

    That is what this book is about. And it's also about taking responsibility for your actions and understanding how your small selfish acts can affect someone else.

    I did not have an issue believing in or finding sympathy for Hannah. My only real issue with this book was Clay, the revelation about him, and the way he viewed the truth about Hannah. Clay changes his mind about Hannah based on what he hears and decides she did not deserve to be slut-shamed because the rumours weren't true. But - would she have deserved the treatment any more if she had done what the rumours said? "No" is the answer. And I wish the book had taken the opportunity to address that.

    But otherwise, this is a creative pageturner, even if it seems a bit strange that cassette tapes were being used in 2007. I liked it a lot and it really made me think.

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  • karen

    oh god, somebody buy this girl some perspective! oh wait, you can't because she's dead. and i, for one, am glad of it because this character would have grown up to be a rotten judgmental schoolmarmy horrorshow of an adult. just horrible.

    and people love this book like cookies!

    backtrack. plot: a girl kills herself. but before she goes, she makes a series of audio cassettes and mails them to an individual, with instructions to pass them along to the next person mentioned on the tapes, which are a c

    oh god, somebody buy this girl some perspective! oh wait, you can't because she's dead. and i, for one, am glad of it because this character would have grown up to be a rotten judgmental schoolmarmy horrorshow of an adult. just horrible.

    and people love this book like cookies!

    backtrack. plot: a girl kills herself. but before she goes, she makes a series of audio cassettes and mails them to an individual, with instructions to pass them along to the next person mentioned on the tapes, which are a chronicle of all the things that were done to her that made her kill herself. it was because of you. and you. and you. the blame game, afterlife edition. what a dick, right?

    and i understand the idea of cause and effect, and that teenagers of all people, need to be more conscious of the effects their actions have on the feeeeelings of others, and this book is meant to highlight that even the smallest things can have a profound effect on a person's life, but ugh - this character is appalling. and does she not realize the effect her accusations are going to have on the recipients of the tapes?? because it is a shitty thing to do when people can't defend themselves, particularly since the awful tragic things that happened to her are pretty standard stuff we have all been through. mostly. nothing suicide-worthy, frankly. and nothing to make other people feel shitty about for the rest of their lives.

    when you are sitting on the same side of a booth at a diner with a boy on valentines day and you are laughing and you put your head on his shoulder and he puts his hand on your leg, that is not a problem, it is called flirtation. and if you don't like it, use your words, and if that doesn't work, get physical. which she does. and succeeds. so what's with all the boo-hoos?? that no one came to your rescue?? princess, no one is

    going to come to your rescue. you did what you were supposed to do - feel proud and call it a day. a somewhat shitty day, but no reason to kill yourself.

    she basically uses her suicide to scold boys who have

    with her or tried to hook up with her.or said she had a nice ass. these are teenagers! they are going to try to hook up with anything that is still breathing! i have dodged many an unwanted advance in my early years, and i have exhaustedly given in to others as the path of least resistance, but that's youth, right? chalk everything up to a learning experience and laugh about it in your adulthood.

    are we supposed to feel that she is empowered for taking her life? because i don't. i fel like she had a normal sized problem that she willingly made a little bigger in a hot tub, but honestly, suburban new hampshire white girl, here is a book called

    . go read that and tell me you have problems.

    i know i gave this three stars, and it is because i did like the way the story was told, as a split-narrative between the transcripts of the tapes, and the voice of a boy who is one of the accused, as we wait for his part in it to unfold, as he wonders what she thinks he did to her (anticlimax, btw). but so as a plot-driven quasi-mystery book, it definitely held my interest, but the whole time, i couldn't help thinking what a brat she was and how unfair some of her accusations were, particularly to the narrator and the last recipient of the tapes. sheesh. brat.

    (if she heard me say that, she would try really hard to come back to life so she could make me a tape telling me how i wounded her soul and then she would kill herself again to make me feel guilty. but i would not.)

  • Nina ♥

    REVIEW: I don't know why this book is so popular. And I honestly don't know what all the rave is about. I heard so many great things about this novel, that's why I read it. While this was a good book, well written and all…the plot was just not good enough—no, the reasons leading to Hannah Baker killing herself were not believable enough for me. I mean sure, t

    REVIEW: I don't know why this book is so popular. And I honestly don't know what all the rave is about. I heard so many great things about this novel, that's why I read it. While this was a good book, well written and all…the plot was just not good enough—no, the reasons leading to Hannah Baker killing herself were not believable enough for me. I mean sure, they did some horrible things to her in high school, that doesn't mean you should just go off and commit suicide. As far as I'm concerned, those kinds of situations happen to everyone. And I don't believe for one second that no one noticed that she wanted to commit suicide. What about her haircut? Didn't the author mention that the teacher passed out a flyer called "The Warning Signs of a Suicidal Individual?" And wasn't there "A sudden change in appearance" on top of the list? What about "Giving away possessions?" Didn't they discuss suicide in the same class? Didn't Hannah leave an anonymous note telling the teacher that? After she told Mr. Porter? And he didn't stop her? Come on, they couldn't have been that dumb! Hannah, above all, just sounded whiny. And I just couldn't sympathize with her character. And committing suicide and then blaming people for it is just a stupid excuse for killing herself. She was the one that decided to kill herself, not them—not anyone. She just needed someone to blame. And poor Clay! If Clay wasn't one of the reasons Hannah killed herself, then why put him through the agony? Why give him the tapes? She could've just written him a letter. And Tony! Hannah put even the ones that had nothing to do with her in pain. For example: what did Tony do to her? Because I know he was hurting, too. He felt helpless because he couldn't have saved her.

    It was also very difficult and confusing to keep up with what Clay and Hannah said/thought. One second I'm reading in Clay's point of view, the next Hannah's. And sometimes I had to reread a whole paragraph because I got the POV wrong in my head.

    Also, I think suicide is a very serious issue so I didn't really buy Jay Asher's portrayal of Hannah's feelings. If someone wanted to commit suicide, their emotion had to be deeper, stronger than just hatred and petty resentment for having a bad reputation in High School. Therefore, I thought Hannah's emotions weren't very serious, even childish and overly dramatic at times. And after finishing the books I was like, "seriously?! That's why she killed herself?!" I honestly felt like Asher was making fun of the teens who have been through terrible things in their life and are still trying to stay strong after everything they've been through. This was like telling them, "what the heck, end your life if you're so miserable."

    : Just found out this is going to be a movie. Starring Selena Gomez.

    Also, if you want to know more about Hannah's reasons, read

    .

  • Hannah

    I figured this deserved a real review.

    I'm a bipolar chick. I'm a girl who has struggled with suicidal thoughts since she was nine years old at the very latest. And I just do not buy 13RW's representation of a suicidal girl. The very premise of the book is flawed to me; you don't kill yourself for REASONS, you kill yourself because there is a bug in your brain gnawing at you and sucking out any valuable thought you've ever had, and I never saw that kind of bug in Hannah. I saw a girl who killed h

    I figured this deserved a real review.

    I'm a bipolar chick. I'm a girl who has struggled with suicidal thoughts since she was nine years old at the very latest. And I just do not buy 13RW's representation of a suicidal girl. The very premise of the book is flawed to me; you don't kill yourself for REASONS, you kill yourself because there is a bug in your brain gnawing at you and sucking out any valuable thought you've ever had, and I never saw that kind of bug in Hannah. I saw a girl who killed herself because boys were mean to her, and I think that if you reversed the sexes and made it a boy who killed himself for Hannah's reasons, no one would have bought it.

    It's a symptom of a larger epidemic you see all the times in discussions of girls with mental illness. Boys are legitimately fucked up and have genuine struggles with mental health, but girls are hysterical. Hannah's depression is entirely circumstantial, as is her suicide, and I just do not buy it.

    Not to mention I think it's a complete cop-out to have Clay be the only guy on the list who didn't fuck her up. Of COURSE the narrator didn't screw up, right?

    It was compelling, I'll give it that. I read it in one night about five years ago.

  • Alex Dembrowsky-henry

    Hannah, the girl who killed herself, and Clay, the boy she sent her "suicide note" tapes to, were fairly believable and well-drawn individuals. But everyone else in the story seems interchangeable, with motivations that are never made clear or seem to constantly switch to serve the purposes of the plot. I couldn't tell the difference between Courtney Crimson and Jessica and Mr. Porter, if there was one, and I couldn'

    Hannah, the girl who killed herself, and Clay, the boy she sent her "suicide note" tapes to, were fairly believable and well-drawn individuals. But everyone else in the story seems interchangeable, with motivations that are never made clear or seem to constantly switch to serve the purposes of the plot. I couldn't tell the difference between Courtney Crimson and Jessica and Mr. Porter, if there was one, and I couldn't keep track of what they did to Hannah. They seemed like a stock supporting cast of high school kids and teachers that Asher picked out of a hat.

    Hannah blames everyone else for her problems, then kills herself and drags everyone else into her misery too. Sure, she went through some rough stuff, but was it really that much worse than what most high schoolers deal with, and get over? She's like a vengeful harpy, tormenting those she blames for pushing her over the edge and haunting them from beyond the grave. She's like a combination of the Ghost of Christmas Past and Holden Caulfield, for the Disney Channel generation. What a great role model for kids.

    Like I said, Hannah and Clay are somewhat believable characters, but they often speak - and think - in ways that no teenager does. There's way too much of Clay "talking" to Hannah in his head (along the lines of, "Hannah, why did you do that?" repeated ad nauseum). And Hannah's always saying stuff like "I bet you wonder how you fit into all of this… well, you'll soon find out!" BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!

    The dialogue and action in this book are ridiculously exaggerated and overwrought, even by the histrionic standards of young adult fiction. There's almost no subtlety. I mean, I know teenagers love drama, but does Asher have to telegraph every emotion, every twist in the plot, with a metaphorical exclamation point? It's like a Lifetime movie about suicide. The literary equivalent of a shitty, screamy emo song.

    This kind of dovetails with the points above, but… I really don't understand how this got a good review from anyone over the age of 16. There's way too much telling and not enough showing in this book. It almost reads like it was written by a high schooler, minus the authenticity.

    I read this book the day after I read Alexie's infinitely superior

    . The contrast between the two young adult novels couldn't be more clear. Alexie's is a realistic, clever, and often heartbreaking story of what it means to grow up as an outcast that ultimately transcends its setting and resonates across generations and backgrounds. Asher's is an overcooked, amateurishly written, poorly realized picture of overdramatic suburban kids chasing their own tails into oblivion.

    I'll admit, this one had me going, even after I realized I was being taken for a ride and didn't much like it, I kept reading. Partly because I was reading it while substitute teaching an English class where all the kids were reading too, so I had nothing better to do. But I was also really hoping the ending would redeem some of the shortcomings and make it worthwhile. Nope. It just fizzles out. Big waste of time.

    When I first read about this book and its basic narrative conceit, I was intrigued. Sure, the plot structure is very high-concept, but so was Slaughterhouse-Five. And the basic message of the story, that one small action or remark can have huge and possibly terrible repercussions in another person's life, is certainly true and a lesson than every teenager should learn. It makes for a great cover and book jacket. Too bad everything in between sucks. Asher should have written a synopsis and then handed it off to somebody with some talent.

    No further explanation needed.

    Pretty much dripping from every page of this thing is the smug sense of self-satisfaction Asher must have felt while writing it. In the age of cyber-bullying and sexting, teen suicide is becoming an even more complicated and difficult issue. But this book doesn't really have anything new, insightful, or helpful to say about it.

    Hannah kills herself for reasons that, to put it bluntly, are bullshit. A few rumors? A car accident she was only tangentially connected to? Witnessing a date rape? All of these are traumatic to varying degrees, but none of them are likely reasons someone would off themselves. As somebody who's worked with kids with mental illness, who've suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, this whole thing just strained credibility. Hannah's way too self-assured and in touch with her emotions to be suicidal. Kids who try to kill themselves do so either in a period of extreme emotional upheaval or because there is a terrible, relentless drumbeat within their beings that sucks the joy out of existence. Never did I get the sense that Hannah felt this way. She seemed to want to kill herself as a kind of performance art, or to get back at the people who wronged her, which is definitely not why most kids do it.

    To continue with the point above, this book really does a disservice to the perception of kids who are seriously ill and need help. It presents suicide as a choice made by whiny kids who bring most of their problems on themselves and do it as a kind of revenge on the world. Like I said, this is not why most kids do it. They are seriously fucked up, either by brain chemistry, drugs, or terrible experiences in their past, the kind of stuff that Hannah never even comes close to. Sure, there are kids who kill themselves because of being bullied, or called sluts, or whatever, but even in those cases the trauma is much more severe than it was here. Asher either doesn't have the guts to portray depression, abuse, and suicide the way they really are, or (more likely) he doesn't know much about them, but wanted to get famous writing a book about it anyways.

    I know this is a serious charge to make, but hear me out for a second. Throughout the book, Asher makes all the rather trivial stuff that happens to Hannah seem like a huge deal. Now, to be fair, the kind of moderate bullying Hannah endures would seem terrible to a suburban high schooler who hasn't dealt with much worse. But nowhere in the book does Asher try to show his teenage readers that such stuff is, in fact, extremely trivial and not worth getting your panties in a bunch over, that there is a big, beautiful world just past the edge of the strip malls and subdivisions of suburban rot if only they'd quit navel gazing for a minute, and none of that high school shit is worth killing oneself over. I'm not saying young adult books have to be all sunshine and rainbows, far from it, but if you're gonna read a book for kids about suicide, at least give some compelling reasons not to do it. Instead, he almost validates Hannah's actions. The whole book is about thirteen reasons why she killed herself, for chrissakes. Sure, Clay does a lot of hand-wringing and, "why, Hannah, why?" type of stuff, but never is there a moment of true catharsis or even a genuine feeling that thing could get better. Instead, Asher wallows in emo-ness from start to finish because he knows that's what his readers want. Problem is, a particularly depressed reader could easily get the impression that if Hannah killed herself for some pretty petty reasons, than they (who are probably suffering through actual, legitimate shit) should do it to. And that's why I REALLY hated this book, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially teenagers.

  • Beth

    I'm one of the very few people who strongly disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, so maybe I should explain to you why.

    I hate Thirteen Reasons Why. And here’s why.

    Most of all, it glamorises suicide.

    I'm putting this at the top because I can't believe I missed it in my original review. And this is a controversial point, because most of my Goodreads friends, whose opinions I would hold up as gospel, loved this book for its realistic and harrowing portrayal of teen suicide.

    This book is one big glamorous m

    I'm one of the very few people who strongly disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, so maybe I should explain to you why.

    I hate Thirteen Reasons Why. And here’s why.

    Most of all, it glamorises suicide.

    I'm putting this at the top because I can't believe I missed it in my original review. And this is a controversial point, because most of my Goodreads friends, whose opinions I would hold up as gospel, loved this book for its realistic and harrowing portrayal of teen suicide.

    This book is one big glamorous monument to Hannah's suicide.

    To me, it feeds the myths that a lot of teens hold about suicide, rather than debunk them.

    Let me start off by saying that all pain is, eventually, temporary. When I think about the worst pain I've ever gone through - depression, painful and invasive surgery, grief - I thoughtn it would never end. But it did. And it always does. Yes, it will hurt like hell. Yes, it will feel as though it's never going to. But, yes, it ends. Eventually. And you have to be strong and extremely brave and honest, but there

    be a day when you will look back on your worst pain and it will be a memory.

    That is why suicide is never the answer.

    So, what's the reason behind this bizarre, obvious, late-night PSA from the brilliant mind of a bat-shit crazy reader from the minority? [hahahaha].

    I think this book encourages suicide.

    There, I said it. I know it's a strong and sweeping and dramatic statement to make. I don't think that Asher wanted it to be that way. I'm not trying to accuse Asher of actively encouraging suicide or anything.

    But.

    I have felt suicidal before. Briefly, never seriously. And yet, the thought that I don't think is that uncommon went something like this:

    Am I projecting my own experiences onto this book? Maybe. But, when you write about something as sensitive as suicide, I think that possibility is always out there.

    This book encourages that line of thinking.

    Let me tell you, emotionally wrecked teenagers: when you are dead, you are freaking

    . You will never grow up. You will never see your parents again. You will never have another moment that makes you feel happy or special in the here and now. You are gone forever.

    But life will go on for those around you. They won't be sorry when you're dead. Or maybe they will be, but you know what? They'll still be alive. They'll still have life. You won't. They'll get to move on. You never will.

    But Hannah Baker kills herself. And it's a dramatic, redemptive, cataclysmic act. Hannah Baker sends the tapes, and she becomes the still point of the turning world. She is Clay's Lost Lenore, the beautiful and romantic and unknowable girl who will live on forever in his memory. Hannah Baker kills herself, and she makes all those people who ever hurt her

    .

    You can tell me that 13RW is all about learning to help the people around us and think about the consequences of our actions. I'm sorry, readers, I love that you guys could get something wonderful and life-affirming and heartbreaking out of this book, but I just couldn't get past the fact that it's

    who teaches these lessons. Hannah dies, and she becomes every romanticised suicide cliché: the omniscient, omnipresent avenging angel, the tragic heroine. And I'm sorry, but that's not how suicide works. As much as Asher pays lip service to the fact that Hannah Baker Didn't Have To Die, well, she kinda did. Because didn't her suicide work out just

    for everybody? Skye might finally get some of Clay's, um, 'help.' The rapist was exposed, the peeping tom was exposed, every person who'd been mean or unfair to Hannah was exposed and made to feel so, so sorry. Everyone learns an Important Lesson, and it's all thanks to Hannah and her decision to kill herself. Hannah

    .

    And, I'm sorry, but you never do. That's just not how it works. In many ways, Hannah is the evil twin of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but instead of living to breathe life into the dull main character, Hannah dies so that she can breathe life into the dull main character and, for all Asher's suicide-helpline advice, I couldn't help but see this as one great propeller of romantic and dangerous teenage myths.

    It’s a clever concept, but it’s fundamentally illogical. Each of the characters have to send it from one ‘reason’ to another; at the end of the book, Clay passes Hannah’s tapes along to the next ‘reason’ on her list. Hannah herself raises the fact that she’s sending it between some people who are guilty of a lesser role – e.g.

    That sounds pretty logical, no? But there’s a couple of huge things ‘wrong’ in the context of the story, although some of them probably reflect more badly on me than they do on the story:

    1) Not all of the tape-receivers are guilty of ‘crimes’ of the same magnitude. In fact, sometimes, there is quite a divide between some of them, e.g. we have

    against a guy who once grabbed Hannah’s ass and one (I think?) who was a friend that she grew away from. Hannah’s logic is that the listeners will keep passing along because of their guilt, and they will not reveal the others’ secrets because they’re culpable, too. But honestly? If I were in the position of one of the guys who grabbed Hannah’s ass, I’d risk people finding out about that in order to spill on the

    . There was a large, large gulf between the minor and the horrible.

    2) Despite the fact that Hannah said she picked on the lesser offenders so they’d pass the tape along, I still don’t understand why some of them would. Guilt? Maybe. But, for the love of GOD, Justin

    Not only is that a crime, it’s also – if I have my society-sense right – one of the worst you can commit. It’s entirely possible that

    could bring charges against him after that, since

    I understand why it wouldn’t get so far, but…really? Mud sticks. There are probably still people in the world who would think ‘I’m not convinced’ if there was watertight evidence showing that a man was

    . A lot of the characters -

    would be taking one hell of a chance if they chose to send it along.

    Hannah is a horrible character. I mean this in two ways. One is that she’s an evil little bitch who I’d really like to punch in the face if she wasn’t dead. Second is that, the way Asher writes her, she’s NOT AT ALL plausible. (At least, not to me.)

    First, let me explain why she’s a horrible little bitch.

    She’s hiding in a closet when

    She does absolutely nothing to intervene. She sees it all and does nothing. Fair enough, she’s too drunk/scared to intervene while it’s actually happening. I can see that. That makes perfect sense to me. It doesn’t necessarily make her a vile person. Would it have been better if she had intervened? Well, sure, but we’re all human. I think we can all understand, to a greater or lesser degree, while she would fear for herself or just not be a fit state to stop it. (Still, she could have called the cops when it was over or something. That’s not really my issue here, though. I have no issue with protagonists who do bad things. I find them really fascinating. I just have an issue with how this was handled.)

    However, Asher does not make ANYTHING of Hannah’s guilt. To me, the last thing you should feel when you’re reading about a suicide is “my God, why is this book so WAH WAH POOR LITTLE ME?” I can’t imagine anything worse than feeling suicidal. But Hannah never gives any indication of guilt or even SYMPATHY towards poor Jessica. All she does is whine on and on about HERSELF, how it affected HER, and yet nothing about how it affected Jessica or even how bad she feels for what she let happen to Jessica.

    Furthermore, Hannah then proceeds to SEND THE TAPE TO JESSICA. And denounces her throughout as one of her ‘thirteen reasons why’: thirteen people who caused her suicide. So, let’s recap.

    How does Hannah handle this? Well, obviously, she tops herself. (Because, you really must understand, HANNAH has been hit hardest by all of this.) Except that, before her death, Hannah makes a tape which she sends around fourteen people

    On this tape, Hannah repeatedly calls Jessica out as one of the reasons why she killed herself and blames Jessica for bad things that happened to her – except that what happened between Jessica and Hannah to end their friendship was so pathetic that I don’t even remember what it was.

    If Jessica hasn’t switched off the tape – and, frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t smash it – by that point, Hannah then went to great pains to

    So, even if Jessica could remember and it wasn’t all horrifying news to her, she then had to deal with the fact that her ex-best friend and crush

    And that said ex-best friend killed herself. And views Jessica as being responsible.

    And, oh yeah, chose to tell thirteen other people about the horrible things that happened.

    As if it was really Hannah’s business.

    So, yes, I hated Hannah. But I hated her most of all because of her unending slamming of Jessica.

    But, worst of all? We’re obviously supposed to see Hannah as the victim in all of this.

    Granted, Clay makes a passing reference to ‘and then Hannah hit [Jessica] with the tapes.’ Brief moral condemnation, check! But, really, at the end of the novel, Hannah is supposed to be the book’s victim. She’s its resounding tragedy. Not Jessica – y’know, the poor

    and now fourteen other people know every detail and she knows they know and they know she knows they know. And she might not have been able to remember any of it in the first place!

    Excuse me while I go throw up.

    Sorry for all my outraged repetition up there. Just didn’t feel that I’d quite hammered the point home.

    Unlike some people, though, I didn’t inherently mind the fact that Hannah hadn’t been tormented to her suicide in some terrible way. It felt more true to life that way. This is the glorious teenage world, where one stupid comment can make you want to curl up in a ball and cry. Granted, it’s not quite glamorous, but it’s very true.

    It’s Asher’s handling of this fact that butchered it for me. This brings me on to my second blanket definition of why Hannah Baker is utterly unbearable.

    As I’ve mentioned several times before, Hannah’s reasons are a mixture of the severe and mundane – I suppose, realistically. But Hannah’s tone is so angry that there is virtually no variation. She seemed equally as angry at the guy who’d once pronounced that she had a ‘nice ass’ as the

    . Maybe that’s plausible for a suicidal girl – that she should feel so bitter and twisted towards everyone. Still, Hannah also has a very didactic narrative voice. I felt as though I was supposed to be Learning A Very Important Lesson, but equally important lessons from the

    I mean, really? They’re both in the same sport, perhaps – sexual judgment/harassment – but, really, completely different leagues.

    Of course, women should not be objectified. They should not be treated like meat. But what happened to Hannah was hardly bullying – it was a brief pain, something to shake off, not something that should blight her in the way it did. It doesn’t push her down further; it starts her downward spiral. That seemed all backwards to me. Plus, I know that teenagers are hardly known for their perspective, but I’d rather my ‘nice ass’ be acknowledged than be ridiculed on acne or bad hair or any kind of weight problem. Also, female students can be just as mean and judgmental – if not so more – about their peers’ appearances/bodies than men. So, please, my comment above is not a comment on a misogynistic society. P.S., it felt like Asher’s was. But really, ‘nice ass’? I’m not saying that Hannah should have taken it as a compliment – but perhaps taken it on the chin a little more?

    She expresses outrage at one point because she expressed one of the signs of suicidal thoughts:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I am not exaggerating. Hannah Baker honest-to-God spews vitriol all over these tapes because people saw that she’d had a haircut and their reaction was, “hey, nice haircut!” instead of “ARE YOU HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS?!?!”

    Insulting.

  • C.G. Drews

    I read this book back in 2014 when I was a teen and I hated it. I still hate it. My review is getting a lot of traffic atm so I'm just going to do a little update and leave you some links to better reviews that tell how problematic the story is:

    I'm not responding to comments because wtf is going on in the comment section I have no idea. I'm sorry my revie

    I read this book back in 2014 when I was a teen and I hated it. I still hate it. My review is getting a lot of traffic atm so I'm just going to do a little update and leave you some links to better reviews that tell how problematic the story is:

    I'm not responding to comments because wtf is going on in the comment section I have no idea. I'm sorry my review is more distraught and emotional than analytical and full of logical reasoning. I don't care if you like this book, but

    I have also had to talk someone down from killing themselves and let me tell you: It was the worst moment of my life. I still nearly cry when I think about it. Because if they'd gone ahead to kill themselves, would I be to blame? Any book that says that yes I would be to blame (like this book is saying) is poisonous.

    Please don't read it if you've had suicidal thoughts or know people who've committed suicide.

    ***

    I absolutely loathed this book. And that’s saying

    , because heck knows I always have positives to say about a book and I don’t like to judge them too harshly. But this one? No. I hated it.

    Obviously, this is just my opinion! But I will enver recommend this book.

    Obviously it’s about suicide. And I feel like the message was (so

    ) that

    To a certain extent, that can be true. Bullying, however subtle and off-handed IS SO VERY WRONG. But Hannah’s whole send-the-tapes-to-the-people-who-were-involved-in-her-death was a very kamikaze effect. She was going down no matter what, SO let’s take some suckers along.

    She was just as guilty, and more so, then any of the kids that teased her, because she then ruined and destroyed 13 lives. I hate that.

    I hate the message this book sends. I hate that it is OKAY for Hannah to have sent those tapes. I hate how she could have, potentially, sent 13 other people to kill THEMSELVES because of what she said about them on the tapes. I hate how Clay even GOT the tapes. (It was totally against the rules she set up.)

    I was so angry and so distressed when I finished this book, it almost turned me off reading. Honestly. I’ve read 70 books this year, and it’s only April. I LOVE BOOKS. And this made me hate them oh-so-much.

    This book is in no way okay.

  • emma

    Note, 6/10/17: Tape #11 has been updated.

    Alright. I really thought I wasn't going to review this book. But a status sharing certain anti-anti

    sentiments (did that make sense?) just came up onto my timeline, and I, to put it cordially, fucking snapped.

    Let me preface this by saying: If this book or television show helped you in

    , this review is not for you. We all have our coping mechanisms, we all

    Note, 6/10/17: Tape #11 has been updated.

    Alright. I really thought I wasn't going to review this book. But a status sharing certain anti-anti

    sentiments (did that make sense?) just came up onto my timeline, and I, to put it cordially, fucking snapped.

    Let me preface this by saying: If this book or television show helped you in

    , this review is not for you. We all have our coping mechanisms, we all have our favorite books - I am absolutely not here to shit on anyone's fave. If you liked this book, that's good. Please don't read this. I reserve the right not to be nice to you if you comment on this saying I'm being unfair.

    So. There are two sides to this debate. One side thinks this book and the

    television show it spawned is inspiring, important, other positive i-words. The other side - the side of my brethren, which is, unsurprisingly to anyone who follows me on here, staggeringly outnumbered - DISAGREES. I'm going to try to outline for you why I feel that way.

    Disclaimer: If this at any point seems like I'm telling you you're not allowed to be a fan of this shit, I'm not. But I passionately hate it, so don't expect objectivity. Also, this contains spoilers for both the book and the show, of course.

    Let's get started. I'll organize this by my very own thirteen reasons.

    That’s one of the biggest defenses I’ve seen of this story. That yes, it’s triggering and yes, it’s intense and yes, it’s hard to talk about. But it’s important.

    Here’s the thing: Hannah Baker is not a mentally ill character.

    My friend, who I will talk more about later, informed me that the show never says the word “depression.”

    Hannah doesn’t get help. The show doesn’t depict the benefits of getting help. (More on that in a later tape.) I don’t think she gets diagnosed with anything, or is medicated, or shows symptoms of depression that are identifiable.

    So how the fucking fuck is this an improved discussion of mental illness if it’s never goddamn talked about?

    Everyone’s thought about suicide. Especially in those tender, self-centered years in middle and high school.

    The mean girls would regret their choices, the guy who never noticed you would wish he had, your friends would worship your memory, your school would make you a martyr.

    But that’s not how it works.

    As you mature, you recognize that. When you die, it’s over for you. You don’t get to grow up. But everyone you ever knew does. And here’s the bitter truth: They’re not going to analyze their choices and regret them. They might not even remember you. They, after all, like you, are only teenagers.

    But not in the world of Thirteen Reasons Why. No, if you’re Hannah Baker, it’s quite the opposite.

    You are talked about beyond life. You act as a hero, distributing punishments and harsh words as you see fit, with no repercussions for your actions. You’re a perfect saint, your death preventing anyone from speaking negatively about you. Your old friends will miss you, the bullies will be humiliated and that humiliation wills them into realizations, the boy you liked desperately wishes that he had just told you he liked you too.

    And for some reason, it’s okay for you to blame your fellow high schoolers - just as vulnerable and worried and uncertain as you ever were - for your death. No one will criticize you for placing that unfair burden on them. For telling the friend you grew apart from that it’s her fault. For telling the people you wronged it’s on them.

    God, you guys. This isn’t what happens if a teenager commits suicide. This isn’t what we should be portraying as a realistic image of what could ever, ever happen.

    Remember earlier, how I posited that most everybody has thought about suicide - at least in the abstract? And how that most often happens in middle and high school?

    Well, guess who this show’s target demographic is. That’s right. The same vulnerable, depressed, self-hating group that already has the tendency to think of suicide as an appropriate option.

    I have three younger siblings. My sisters are seventeen and fifteen; my brother is twelve. My sisters and each and every one of their friends have watched this fucking show. I begged my brother not to watch it, even though all of his friends have seen it.

    Do you understand that? My twelve year old brother is being left out of conversations, jokes, references, group chats and budding friendships because he hasn’t watched a show that centers on suicide and sexual assault. Do you see what the stakes of this are? I’m not just some melodramatic reviewer without a life, trying to ruin a show that people like.

    Every student in every middle and high school in America will be told to watch this show. And the author, the producers, the directors and adapters, couldn’t even be bothered to consider the repercussions of their actions.

    This show doesn’t depict the benefits of therapy, of antidepressive medication (hard when your protagonist doesn’t have a diagnosis), of confiding in your loved ones. The only potential solution offered within the narrative is suicide. And, as I talked about earlier, it works out pretty fucking well for Hannah Baker.

    I swear to God I’m going to open Facebook tonight and someone will have shared a Buzzfeed quiz called “How Would You Kill Yourself If You Were On Thirteen Reasons Why?” Y’all can’t fucking have this both ways. Pick a lane: is this show intense and important, bringing attention to under-discussed issues in a serious and mature way, or do you want to know which character you are based on your cupcake preferences? This either is or isn’t a joke. It’s up to you.

    The show gives trigger warnings. Cool. That’s not even sarcastic - I think that’s great.

    But if you’ve seen the show, you know some of the graphic imagery goes so fucking beyond what any viewer would expect.

    My friend, who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, and is triggered by sexual assault, had a series of panic attacks due to this show. But she finished it - against my urging - because she thought it would give some important message or theme to the audience watching it. But it doesn't. And she put herself through that for nothing.

    Hannah has

    for committing suicide. It’s like there was a straw that broke the camel’s back. Suicidal thoughts aren’t like that.

    If you’re thinking seriously about committing suicide, it’s not because of a baker’s dozen carefully delineated causes. It’s because everything feels impenetrably, incurably, never-endingly awful. It feels like there are no bright spots and no way out.

    The difference? Everybody feels like Hannah Baker does. Everybody has the humiliating moments and regrets that, like, haunt them before they sleep every night. But

    everybody has severe depression. Trying to equate the two is HORRIFIC. It both reduces the trauma of having depression and indicates suicide as an option for people who may have never considered it otherwise.

    Making the guidance counselor a villain is maybe one of the most irresponsible attempts at drama in this stupid fucking narrative. The absolute last thing you should be doing is giving any indication to a vulnerable group that going to a trusted adult won’t work out well.

    Teenagers everywhere: This book and show are total fucking bullshit. Your guidance counselors know

    what to do. If you’re feeling like something is wrong, or experiencing suicidal thoughts, tell someone. If you feel safe to confide in a guidance counselor, do it. If you don’t, find another trusted adult: A teacher, a parent, a school administrator. Anything. Just don’t take this bullshit for an example.

    There’s a bajillion more articles on this, but I’m already shaking with anger.

    How goddamn hard is it? Fuck your quasi-advocacy.

    One morning, I’ll wake up to my phone alarm. Check my notifications, see one from The Washington Post. Normal, when we haven’t had a slow news day in a year. But the headline won’t be political. It’ll be something like, “Teen Suicide Appears Inspired By Netflix Show.” And I’ll know, instantly. Feel awful for that poor vulnerable kid, but also think,

    Think,

    At least the book didn’t tell the reader how to slit their wrists.

    Update, 6/10/17: It happened. @cyborgcinderella brought this to my attention in the comments, because this isn't even getting the press coverage I expected.

    And no one is under the impression that this will be the only one - one headline reads, "The ‘13 Reasons Why’ Copycat Suicides May Have Started." Why, why, why, why would this show be given a second season?

    I’m just saying, it probably doesn’t make your depressed audience of teenagers feel better if they spend the bajillion hours this show lasts staring at impossibly gorgeous

    It’s a cast of classically good looking twenty-somethings wearing natural makeup, with idealized bodies and perfect hair.

    That’s not different from any other teen show. It just feels especially significant when you think about how smugly this show pats itself on the back.

    It’s laughable. This show just makes no fucking sense.

    I HATE this book and show like I’ve never hated anything. I’m worried about everyone I know who has seen it. I’m worried about every teenager who has heard about it. And I’m worried about the precedent this sets for irresponsibly using suicide as a plot point, without care for who it hurts.

    Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,

    this book, this show, Jay Asher, and anyone who had any part in bringing it into existence.

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