Kristen's Reviews > Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
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May 04, 2008

really liked it
Read in May, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I really enjoyed this book. This book did a nice job explaining that suicide is not caused by one event alone. It is caused by many events that start to add up.

I love the blend between the two narrators. There wasn't too many detail descriptions on all the rumors about Hannah and what Hannah did at the end of the book, which didn't make this too graphic.

The ending was disappointing. You never found out how the last two characters reacted to the tapes. The whole thing with Skye is a little strange. Did he think she was suicidal, and that's why he wanted to talk to her? Did he have a crush on her, and decided he didn't want to miss the chance to be with her, like he did with Hannah?

Summary:
Clay receives a box full of tapes that tells what caused Hannah Baker to commit suicide. Each side of the tape had a reason that led up to her death.

The first tape describes her first kiss with Justin Foley. It told us how they met and where they kissed. After this kiss, rumors started to go around that Hannah does more than kissing.

The second tape describes how Alex Standall made the Who's Hot and Who's Not list. On this list Hannah was number one for Best Ass. After this list came out, someone at a gas station felt that it was ok to slap Hannah's ass, and tell her to relax. She felt uncomfortable when this person did this.

The third tape describes how Hannah, Alex and a girl named Jessica Davis were friends once. All three of them were new students. A counselor set the meeting up between Jessica and Hannah to meet. They sort of hit it off and went to a coffee shop to talk. That's where they met Alex. Everyday all three of them met at this coffee shop to talk. Slowly Alex and Jessica stopped going there.
Then one day Jessica wanted to meet at the coffee shop. She showed Hannah the Who's Hot and Who's not list. Jessica was on the Not side. Jessica was all bent out of shape because Alex chose Hannah over her. She mentions that she heard rumors about Hannah and Alex. They had a little fight, and Jessica hit Hannah.

The fourth tape was about how Tyler Down was a peeping tm. Hannah noticed one night that someone was taking pictures of her when she was in her bedroom. The next day she told a girl in one of her classes about the peeping tom. The girl thought it was cool, and Hannah invited her over to see. Once they realize that they were getting their picture taken, they pretended to be naughty. Hannah was giving this girl a nice back massage. Eventually they were able to pull the shades up and saw the peeping tom with his pants down. After that Hannah started to keep her blinds closed, and she was not able to see the stars at night.

The fifth tape was about how Courtney Crimsen (the same girl from the peeping tom chapter) was friendly to everyone. She used Hannah when it was convenient. One night Courtney needed a ride to a party, and she invited Hannah along. Once they got to this party the two girls split up. While they were separated Courtney started telling people that Hannah had some kinky things in her dresser at home. This gave the impression that she was a slut.

The sixth tape was about how Marcus Cooley asked Hannah out. He got her number form a Valentine survey that the school did. He asked her out for ice cream at Rosie's after school. Hannah waited a half hour for Marcus at this restaurant. She was worried that he stood her up. When he finally arrived, he told her that he thought that this date was a joke, but he came by just in case Hannah thought it was real. With all the rumors flying around, Marcus thought that Hannah wouldn't mind if he felt her up. She did. She pushed him out of the booth and he called her a tease.

The seventh tape Zach Dempsey started to take her encouragement notes in her Peer Communications class. She was upset about this because she was feeling bad and she really wanted to know that people cared about her. Also during this chapter, she submitted the subject of suicide to talk about in this class, and the class treated like it was stupid. How were they supposed to help a suicidal person, if they don't know who it is?

The eighth tape Hannah started to take a poetry class to make her self feel better. Ryan Shaver, a student at the same school, was in there. She shared her poetry with him, and he published it the newspaper without her permission. The whole school ridiculed the poem and made her feel ashamed.

The ninth tape brings Clay into Hannah's story. She describes how she was attracted to him because he had a good reputation, and she didn't. She heard that Clay was going to a party and she wanted to see him. Once Hannah and Clay met, they talked for a long time about deep, personal stuff. Hannah realized that she didn't want to get close to Clay, and tried to turn the conversation to a lighter subject matter. They eventually ended up at a room and she kissed Clay. They totally connected, however Hannah freaked out and told Clay to go away. Clay left her in a room all by herself.

The tenth tape, Jessica and Justin walk into the room. Jessica was passed out, and wasn't responsive. Justin tried to get his groove thing on, and decided that it wasn't going to happen. Justin left the room, and one of his friends (we assume it is Bryce) came it and raped Jessica while she was out. This took a huge toll on Hannah. She was blaming herself because she was in the room and could have prevented it.

The Eleventh tape, Hannah was so distraught that Jenny Kurtz offered her a ride home. Jenny crashed her car into a stop sign. Hannah told Jenny that she should park the car and walk home. Jenny didn't like that idea. Hannah told her to call the police. Jenny didn't want the police to track her. Jenny kicked Hannah out of the car, and Hannah walked to a gas station and called the police. She found out that there was an accident at that intersection, because one car didn't see the broke stop sign. The driver of one car died. Once again, Hannah felt horrible because she thought that she could have prevented this from happening.

The twelfth tape, Hannah went over to Courtney's house after some party. She let Bryce, the same guy who grabbed her ass at the gas station, have sex with her. She wanted to feel as low as she could. She despised Bryce, but she let him have sex with her.

The last tape was a recorded conversation between Mr. Porter and Hannah. She describe that she had sex with someone and didn't want her to. Since she didn't want to press charges, her options were to talk to Bryce w/ Mr. Porter, or just deal with it. She decided to just deal with it.

During throughout this story we see Clay analyzing Hannah's actions. We see him fall apart as he realize that he could have helped her, if he really tried.
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Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Miss Bookiverse I don't think Clay thinks that Skye is suicidal. He just noticed her, noticed how she's behaving differently just like Hannah and I think he might also develop a crush on her but most of all I think he does not want to let another person he might like slip away as easily as he did with Hannah, just like you said.


message 2: by Kate (last edited Mar 10, 2009 02:05PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kate Hi Spooky and Kristen,

I think that Clay does think Skye is suicidal -- he takes note of her dreary clothing and the way she seems to be slipping away from everyone. She even speaks in a whisper when he sees her in the hall and decides to go after her. I think that Clay takes the lesson from Hannah that very lost people need someone to treat them like they are important and cared for and NOT let them slip away (from life, rather than a romance), so he decides to be proactive and do for Skye what he now realizes Hannah wanted him to do for her. (He may be attracted to her as well, though!)

Sorry, hope I'm not butting in, but I was interested in your discussion.

Best,
Kate

P.S. If you guys liked this book, you might also like To Take a Dare by Paul Zindel and Crescent Dragonwagon. It's out of print but well worth checking out if it's in the library!


Jess It is very true that suicide isn't necessarily caused by a single event. Sometimes people forget how much of an impact they can have on someone's life. If you are mean to someone, it might just be enough to push them off the edge or if you try to be nice to someone and give them a chance, it could very well save them. I thought this book was good & an eye opener for sure.


message 4: by Akin (new)

Akin Yes, and killing yourself solves what exactly?


Miss Bookiverse who said it would solve anything?


message 6: by Brandan (last edited Jun 23, 2009 09:56PM) (new)

Brandan OK so I just finished this book late at night and have a crazy idea in my head that as far as I can tell, no one else has said anywhere online. If you read this, please let me know what you think (likely telling me I'm an idiot... but never know)

This has to deal with Hannah's suicide and the girl in the coffee shop that had Wood Shop with Clay. No where in the book does it go into detail about her suicide and the characters (and audience) is led to believe she did not have a funeral in town.

The curve ball proposition: The girl in coffee shop is actually Hannah (in disguise and changing her appearance) who faked her own suicide to see how everyone would react (she mentions this desire to see it - Reason 1)

Reason 2: Said above - nothing about a funeral

If you have book, reread beginning of Cassette 2 Side B.

Reason 3: Girl has short cropped hair (Hannah cut her hair short) and Clay says "She looks a little familiar. Maybe her hair's different."

Reason 4: She asks what he's listening to and responds "Interesting. Anyone I've heard of?" - Sort of odd question to ask after asking what he's listening to. How would Clay know? (I know - it's just another way of asking the first question, but you have to admit it's odd)

Reason 5: Clay does not recollect this girl from school "I still don't remember her" but girl remembers a lot about Clay - Hannah always picked up on Clay's good rumors

Reason 6: She states she made a Piano Bench in wood shop. Take note of what Hannah sat on and is mentioned (more than once I believe) at the parties - a piano bench.

Reason 7: Girl's description of Clay being the nicest guy and a resemblance to Clay's part in the tape. Perhaps the comment about how she talked to much (Hannah's the one talking on his tapes)

Reason 8: Girl wants to talk to Clay more - wouldn't Hannah? And that's pretty straight forward for just being someone from an old class.

Reason 9: Hannah can watch everyone making the trip on her map if she's working there.

Reason 10: She says Clay wouldn't recognize her as shes "changed a lot since high school" and proceeds to roll her eyes (which Clay notes are heavily made up - again disguise?)

Reason 11: She says they had one class together and didn't talk much... (even if she said it was Wood Shop) why would she bring up that they didn't talk much? There is a lot of focus on the Mr. Porter's class and she could be referencing that one instead about how they didn't talk.

Reason 12: I don't believe Hannah ever mentioned that Monet's safety was taken from her - that's why she runs there to escape.

Did I just start listing reasons? Wow, need to get away from this book. Anyways, I'm probably missing 1 reason why it's her to be super corny. Please let me know what you think. I am going to have to go back and look for clues in the Mr. Porter part now when she's leaving. Please respond.


Miss Bookiverse Wow, that's a really interesting theory. Unfortunately I already forgot so much about the book that I can hardly confirm or not confirm any of your reasons. Though I kind of doubt that Clay wouldn't have recognized her, even with different hair and heavy make up.



Tina Valenzuela I think that is very interesting. But I don't think that the girl is Hannah.
The only thing on Clay’s mind is Hannah. He is listening to a tape with her voice on it; even if she tried to talk a little different Clay would probably pick up on it.
Another thing Clay had a huge crush on her. It said so in the book. Also while they worked together in the movie theater Clay would just watch her working. I would not be surprised if he picked up on her little physical features and mannerisms.
So, if the only thing on his mind was Hannah then I think that Clay would notice if the barista was Hannah even if she had on a disguise.
One more thing, would Hannah really put her parent’s through all of that? If she did WOW she is a horrible person!!



message 9: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Brandan interesting theory. First thought would be no way could it be her, Clay would know, but you make a lot of good points and I wondered myself why the stuff with the coffee shop girl was there. But the more I think about it maybe it was to highlight the notion that Clay wasn't as observant as he might think as he cannot recall a girl from wood shop who made something as big as a piano bench.

And there are other references to a piano bench which made me wonder what for...maybe it's symbolic for the "elephant in the room"...you know that fact that sometimes people can't see what's right in front of their face.

I also noticed the mentions of there being no funeral, at least maybe not one in that town, and couple that with the scene where there are notes all over the shoe shop her parents owned and you get the impression that her parents left town and haven't come back. I kept wondering if we were going to find out at the end that Hannah was put in some kind of institution...because there is the part where Tony says he realized what Hannah was planning when he didn't see her in third hour and he makes a call to her parents...makes you wonder if they could have caught/saved her in time and just took her away.

But again, interesting theory.


Tdefeliceee correction. in the second tape, it is at a candy store. not gas station. she goes to the gas sttion after the wreck with her and jenny.


Tdefeliceee Brandan wrote: "OK so I just finished this book late at night and have a crazy idea in my head that as far as I can tell, no one else has said anywhere online. If you read this, please let me know what you think (..."

that makes complete sense!
Brandan wrote: "OK so I just finished this book late at night and have a crazy idea in my head that as far as I can tell, no one else has said anywhere online. If you read this, please let me know what you think (..."


Gaelyn I think it's more of that clay liked her and how he didn't want to miss his chance. I really think it was confusing though.


Nelly The book is made to make you believe on different things. It is upto the reader to draw it's own conclusion wether you think Skye is suicidal or not is completely upto you.... We may never know


message 14: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick Brandan wrote: "OK so I just finished this book late at night and have a crazy idea in my head that as far as I can tell, no one else has said anywhere online. If you read this, please let me know what you think (..."

Well i came across your comment because i was wondering about what you said about the piano bench (your reason 6). But i was going down a totally different train of thought than you...

I was thinking about how (i'm pretty sure this is right) Clay and Hannah didnt mention who's house the party was at and how Hannah sat on the piano bench before Jenny offered her a lift. So the girl working at Monet's might have been the one throwing the party. Going against this theory is the girl told Clay she didnt have a piano and there was a piano at the house. It just kinda bugs me that the girl didn't give Clay her name so i always thought she would somehow loop her way back into the story.

So that kinda went in a circle but to pick up on your point even if Hannah changed her hair and tatooed her entire face, im pretty sure Clay would've recognised her.

On the thing about Skye. First, i think it wouldve made more sense to have Skye be the one working at Monet's because having that other girl there just kinda confused me and left me trying to find her in the rest of the book (obviously). Second, I think that the author's intention was to present Skye as suicidal. He drew similarities between Hannah and Skye (although not directly) like how Clay had a crush on her in 8th grade. The most glaring of which is when Skye ran into Steve Oliver(i think) and whispers "I'm sorry", the same way Hannah did when she ran into Clay the last day he saw her.

When Clay finishes the last tape he said/thought: And now, anytime someone says "I'm sorry", i'm going to think of her.

So yeah i think he's saving Skye not trying to take control of his love life.

P.S. worth mentioning that for a "nice guy" Clay is awfully popular with the ladies.


Saniya i am still confused if i should buy this book or not...


Jessica Saniya wrote: "i am still confused if i should buy this book or not..."
you should. you'll like it.


Saniya thanks Jessica! I just read this book. It was awesome! and Brandan...GOSH DONT TELL ME...OMG OMG OMG....she is alive...ughh...:P but still i mean why will she just pretend to see people listening to why she died? I thought she died. And about Skye, I really think Clay should be her Boyfriend after what he had listened to..lolx...i just love this book.


valarie I had the same thought that she might still be alive because Tony warned her parents and like right after they just kind of disappeared and the fact that there was not even a mention of a funeral. And with the Skye thing I don't think he thought she was suicidal just that the signs were there and he didn't want her to slip away like Hannah did I think it was a mix of both not letting her slip away and not being afraid anymore.


message 19: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick I don't really think that Asher would have randomly left Hannah alive and watching everyone, it would kind of ruin the book. I know we (and everyone in the book) all want Hannah to be alive, but the point of this story is alot bigger than the characters. It's supposed to explore the different sides of suicide and Hannah being alive the whole time turns it into a crappy cliche where everything miraculously works out.



Back to what will now be known as Brandan's Theory, maybe this was to show how Clay's nice guy rumors were more apparent than he thought, Hannah wasn't the only one who noticed and if Clay had done anything but notice Hannah, he might have noticed other girls noticing him (Skye?).

Also, that damn, confusing, omnipresent piano bench. I think if Hannah made it she wouldn't be sitting on it in someone else's house. I don't often bring furniture with me to parties and I think Hannah would have a similar attitude.

If Clay had woodshop(or any class with Hannah) he would have remembered and he would have noticed what she was making, probably at the expense of noticing any other girls.



After all this, I am definitely rereading this book, try to work out what the hell Coffee Girl is doing there :)


message 20: by Nick (last edited May 15, 2011 05:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick Rereading this review made me reread this book (It was again, awesome).
At one point I was thinking Coffee-girl was Andrea Williams, Clay's first kiss in seventh grade (random, I know).
A better option is Kat, Hannah's first friend and next-door-neighbour when she moved to town. Kat moved away just before Hannah started school and Clay met Hannah at Kat's going away party. I'm thinking Kat because Hannah moved to town freshman year, which she mentions in her first tape was two years ago. The girl at Monet's said she went to school with Clay two years ago which stretches the timeline a bit, because Kat left BEFORE freshmen year. If she left before freshmen year, and Clay and Hannah are now juniors, it's probably been closer to three years since Kat and Clay went to school together; the summer before freshmen year, freshmen and sophomore year and however far into this year they are. But maybe she just meant two school years?


If it is anyone who was mentioned in the story I would guess Kat, but in the end it seems more likely it was just a random girl from school who proved the point of how everyone(mostly girls) heard Clay's nice-guy rumors. Maybe it was Andrea, probably not.



So yeah, that's what my obsession has turned out. I think I'm done :)


Daniela I think the reason he added in Skye was because overtime that Clay had known her she had changed and That's what happened to Hannah. She had slowly changed and all she needed was one true friend and Clay unaware of what was in store for Hannah didn't know to Work faster with the whole talking to her, so he thought "hey" instead of just looking at Skye walk away.

( and this book is amazing. I read it three times haha)


message 22: by Sara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sara yeah the ending with skye was a little weird for me too. definitely didn't like that ending too much.


message 23: by Cj (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cj Skye was added because Clay realized he cared about her, not too dramatically or romantically and he realized that you can show that to people and let them know. So they feel appreciated and loved. He decided that he wasn't going to be too shy to confront people like that anymore. Thats what Skye means


Emily I didn't understand it either. thanks CJ


Kathryn I interpreted the bit with Skye, as Clay taking what the tapes had taught him (the little actions add up) and talking to Skye was him trying to use that lesson in his own life.


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