Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher is a YA novel about a teenage girl, Hannah who commits suicide and leaves behind tapes telling her reasons.
The novel opens with Clay, finding a package by his door when he gets home from school. He opens the package to find tapes, when he presses play on the first one he is shocked to find that it’s Hannah, a classmate that committed suicide a couple weeks prior. She says that the rules are to listen to them all the way through in order and then pass them on to the next person. She warns that someone else has another set and will release them in a more public way if the tapes don’t make it through each of the 13 people. Each of the tapes is dedicated to a person who lead to her decision and if you get the tapes you are one of the reasons.
I heard about this book years ago but was never thinking of reading it, then I saw the Netflix show preview and thought it looked good so I decided to pick it up and I loved it.
This book was definitely a difficult read at times, how could it not be when it’s about a teenager who kills herself? Going into it you know that she has committed suicide, but it’s hearing her reasons that really gets you.
I liked the way the book was set up. Each chapter was a side of a tape so it was like you were listening right along with Clay and finding things out at the same time as him. I found it hard to put down because I wanted to know who was next and I was anticipating Clay’s tape, as I’m sure he was.
I read some comments on Goodreads after finishing it and I found that a lot of people who didn’t care for the book were saying that it was because they had a hard time believing that Hannah would commit suicide for the reasons that she gave. I agree to an extent. One of those reasons may not be enough, but when you add all of them up, she was overwhelmed and ending her life was the only way she saw to put an end to it. At the same time, although this is a work of fiction, who are we to say that something isn’t enough to make someone commit suicide? Something that seems simple or not a big deal to one person can seem like it’s the end of the world for someone else. Some people deal with hard things differently and some people can brush stuff off easily then others and some people just get so overwhelmed and depressed that ending their life seems like it’s the only option for them.
This was sort of a hard review to write because there are things I want to talk about but they would definitely be spoilers so I’m going to end it here but I recommend people read the book.
My next post is going to be a review of the Netflix show and if you haven’t read the book or seen the show there will be spoilers in that post if you’d rather just find stuff out before reading or watching.
Also if you or anyone you know is ever considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day. You can also go online at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org where there is also an online chat option.