Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Release Date: May 2008
Retail Price: $16.99
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama

After years and years of hearing the novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, I couldn’t pass by the chance to read this book when I saw it my library. Knowing that this novel was getting made into a TV Show by Selena Gomez (Her Revival album is great 🙂 ) I had to read it! Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why was different to most contemporary novels that deal with the theme of suicide. However, this book was disappointing as it didn’t live up to its hype. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it and it was a great short read.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a unique dual perspective novel. Clay’s true love, Hannah has committed suicide not to long ago. Clay can’t seem to bear the truth but one day a package of thirteen tapes arrive one day on his doorstep, each tape consists of thirteen reasons told by Hannah of why she decided to end her life. Clay can’t stop listening to them and as he delves deeper into Hannah’s true story the reasons he discovers will hurt him in ways he could never imagine.

I am definitely excited as to how the TV show will turn out and when it does come out I will definitely be writing a #mythoughts on the episodes.


Thirteen Reasons Why was an interesting read for me. While I didn’t really enjoy the novel, I still found myself page-turning for more. Perhaps, it’s because I just wanted to find out how Clay impacted Hannah, it was gripping in the sense that readers are captivated to find out more about Hannah’s reasons for committing suicide and how she did commit suicide. Before I get to what I didn’t enjoy about the novel, let’s start off with the positives.

Thirteen Reasons Why started off very shaky but as the story end, it got better and better. To be honest, the ending was the one of the only good parts of the novels. I really enjoyed the execution of the theme of suicide, in the novel. Suicide and mental problems, like depression in teens usually begin with a small spark and as Hannah mentioned it’s usually the little things that build up to the, “Snowball Effect”. Asher’s intriguing example of this effect was one of the reasons that kept me wanting to read more. Hannah’s tapes began with the starting problem and as the story progressed the snowball became too big and unbearable for Hannah and for her it was the end of the world. After reading this novel and discovering that some little things will always be in your memory, I have definitely been more conscious to the way I treat others.

The novel was definitely well thought-out in terms of the layout of the story. I really liked reading the different tapes from Hannah and then hearing the comments from Clay. It was kind of like two perspectives in one both set in different time frames and that was really intelligent. However, even though it was well thought-out it wasn’t tear-jerking. I was expecting a major flow of tears like I did with All The Bright Places but I was disappointed.

The story jumped straight away into the story and I was kind of taken aback. It was too fast and I never got any information or background on Clay. Therefore, I didn’t get to understand or click with him, even though he was the main character. Even though it may not have been that important to the story, If I had gotten to know more about who he was or how much he really loved Hannah I would have enjoyed the story a lot more. The character development was disappointing as well, Clay went through no development and by the end of the novel, all he went through was the same few emotions thought-out the novel: angered, sad and disappointed.

Hannah’s development was definitely a bit better and we got to go through every step of her where the reasons began all the way until she met the English teacher and committed suicide. I really liked the way her tapes and recordings really reflected her personality and what she went through. It was very much like listening to the real tape. Through her dialogues we definitely get to find out more about her character than just plainly writing her story.

However, Clay’s part on the tapes were so small, I was so disappointed. I was expecting more but the way Hannah told the story it seemed like she never really loved Clay like he did to her. However, he was oblivious and only ended up getting enraged. It was as if we lead up this to huge mountain but we were only faced with a small hill. Not only that but it was hard to follow and pinpoint what was exactly happening during the ending tapes, as everything major was all crammed into a few short stories.

I was trying really hard not to compare this novel to All The Bright Places but I can conclude that Thirteen Reasons Why wasn’t as good. However, I commend Jay Asher’s layout of the story but it was just some flaws that brought down the novel.

Thanks guys! Next review will be on BOY23 by Jim Carrington!



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