Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher Retro Friday Book Review

Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher Retro Friday Book ReviewThirteen Reasons why by Jay Asher
Also by this author: What Light, The Future of Us
Published by Penguin on 2007
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Death & Dying, Friendship, Suicide
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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 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.

Retro Friday Book Reviews are hosted by Angieville. Basically you review an out-of-printer, underrated, or older title on Fridays. Pretty much this feature ROCKS.

I love reading books that have received a lot of attention. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher published in 2007 still garners reviews in the book blogosphere. I’m not sure what I can say that will be different, but maybe you don’t read book blogs. Maybe you need just a little push to FINALLY pick up Thirteen Reasons Why – I hope I can do that. Thirteen Reasons Why is a book that made me think deeply and consider my actions — we know I am not the nicest person so maybe I should reconsider my words and actions (baby steps, y’all).

Clay Jensen comes home from school and finds a box of tapes. At first he is excited (don’t lie, you still get excited for packages too) until he hears the voice – it’s Hannah Baker – a classmate and coworker who has committed suicide. The seven tapes outline the Thirteen Reasons Why Hannah took her life and connect 13 different people. After listening to the tapes they get passed on to the next person. As you can imagine, this is very rough on Clay, a nice kid who doesn’t understand why he’s on the tapes.

What struck me and had me pondering while reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is Jay Asher’s portrayal of rape culture. I am not sure if this is his intention, but I think Thirteen Reasons Why does an apt job. People think that they can get sexual favors from and touch Hannah without her consent because of her reputation. Or, the bit when a certain act is committed on a drunk girl and two people know, but do not step in to help. I thought the interwoven bit of Hannah being voted Best Freshman Class Ass coming up again and again to show Hannah portrayed as a body part and not treated as a person was very important. I thought Thirteen Reasons Why did a superb job of showing how objectifying someone is not a compliment and just serves to dehumanize the person.

Honestly, I think there are some mental issues and maybe illness with Hannah because plenty of people go through horrible things and do not take their lives, but I also think it is important to try to consider our actions. And yes, I know that’s really rich coming from me, but at the same time, I do think that, despite how hypocritical it might be.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is an unflinching, poignant portrayal of teen suicide and all the elements involved. Jay Asher has written a book worthy of analysis and discussion. Thirteen Reasons Why is absolutely recommended, and friends, I am kicking myself for not reading sooner, BUT at least I have FINALLY read it.

Disclosure: Purchased Copy.

Other Reviews of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher:

Reading Vacation 
Makeshift Bookmark
The Book Swarm
Bibliophilic Monologues

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This is on my short list of to be read books. Jay Asher is one of those authors who I need to read all of his books.

  2. I listened to the audiobook version of this and was blown away by it. I couldn’t decide if I felt for Hannah or hated her for blaming so many people. There’s so much you can say about this book, about its themes and issues; I highly recommend it to anyone. Period. Thanks for making it part of your Retro Friday!

  3. I read it a few years back, and it still lives in my memory. I think about it a lot. I have heard the audiobook is amazing, I want to give it a try and reread it now. I think it will be even more powerful on the second go-around.

  4. This review made me purchase this on my Kindle immediately and I’m bumping it up in my queue.

  5. “Honestly, I think there are some mental issues and maybe illness with Hannah because plenty of people go through horrible things and do not take their lives, ” <————THIS! I completely agree. I haven't read this book, but have a jist from your review. I know I come off as very silly in my comments and my own blog posts, but I've been through some pretty deep traumatizing stuff in my life..

    I have been at that point.. where I wasn't sure I wanted to even go on. If I had mental issues or sickness, perhaps I wouldn't be here commenting right now. As I see it though, nothing.. I mean NOTHING.. is bad enough to take a life over. But that's just my opinion.

    This book sounds super interesting though. I have seen it around, but have never really looked to see what it was about.

    • That’s rough. I did not know that about you. I mean, why would I? But still, I am glad you survived and made it through. You are a wonderful person, I just want you to know that.

      I think that you would like Thirteen Reasons Why, just for it’s depth and how well it is written.

  6. Yeah, this book made me incredibly angry–particularly at Hannah and suicide in general. To my mind, there is no more selfish act than suicide, and what Hannah did to make sure that others felt to blame for her decision was beyond selfish and vindictive. I do think it was an EXCELLENT book, and sincerely hope that it will create in people the ability to consider their actions, and reach out to people who are depressed.

    • Word. Suicide is such a selfish act. Yet, I can’t help but feel bad for Hannah, because of all the mental things she had going on.

      I think there’s a big debate that could rage over whether Hannah was justified with the tapes or not.

  7. I am one of the ones who hasn’t read this yet either, due to the difficult topic, though I will read it at some point. Was thinking it would work great on audio to go well with the tape aspect of the story. I like that the book makes you think more about the people around you and that can only be a positive thing, right? Glad you found it worthwhile.

  8. I’m glad you’ve added this book into your life. It’s totally one that is worthy of discussion. Because like you said, not everyone who suffers the way she did takes their own life…but hearing her story certainly adds some insight as to how something like that might happen.

    • Absolutely. And I certainly appreciate that insight. I’m not a mental health counselor or anything, but it is worthy to know what goes on in the mind of a person about to take their life and if there is anything we can do to help the person, ya know?

  9. Yep, this is one of those books that have always been on my “to read” list. Thanks for taking the time to review it — I’m bumping it up in the queue!!

  10. Dude, I just snatched this awesome hardcover copy in perfect condition at my library sale on Friday for the low, low price of $1. It was the first of 25 books I picked up that day. I left book drunk.

    • Dangit I hate when my computer cuts off before I’m finished. I also wanted to say that I’ve always wanted to read it and my library’s copy was stolen. So win-win-win, because my library is probably gonna get this copy from me when I’m done with it.

  11. This is still on my TBR, where it’s sat for months and months. I’ve heard it’s amazing from so many different people, but I’m almost scared to read it in case it doesn’t live up to the hype!

    I’ll definitely make an effort to read it soon though – if it’s even half as amazing as you make it sounds, I’m sure it’ll be wonderful!

  12. Chelsea Castronovo says

    This book changed my life. It changed my perspective on victims of bullying. I absolutely love the book.


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