Book Review – 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Penguin Books
Rating: ***

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 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.


Possibly a strange “holiday read” but 13 Reasons Why was a fast paced and intriguing one. Slightly depressing and melancholy but also a modern young adult mystery.

Clay gets a strange package containing tapes, he borrows a tape recorder to listen to them. It’s the voice of Hannah, the girl from school who recently killed herself. These tapes reveal the 13 people, the 13 reasons why she killed herself. Anyone listening is a reason… so Clay wonders what he had done to hurt or upset Hannah.

The book is split up into Clay’s thoughts and movements and then Hannah’s voice on the tape. It did take me a while to get into the rhythm of reading it like that but once I did I flew through the book. I wanted to know why Clay was listening to the tapes, what number he was, who else was on the tapes, and the reasons why.

This book gives you a real sense of why some people can break down, how things of the smallest or biggest quality can slowly eat away at a person because everything builds up inside of them. This book is about how you should think about your actions before hurting someone really badly. I have to admit some of her reasons did seem petty, at no point during the tapes would I have said she was depressed enough to kill herself, to get revenge yes but not suicide. I have read a few reviews about this book saying it glamorises suicide, I don’t think it does, It is fiction and in reality no one really knows what’s going through another persons mind. So her reasons might seem petty to others but for Hannah those reasons hurt her deeply and she got into a hole she couldn’t escape from.

This book was very emotional and raw and intense, it was definitely a page turner and I read in a one afternoon. This is a strange book to review because as much as I enjoyed reading it at the time if I sit and think about it the subject and way it was written does annoy me. It seems light-hearted for the subject matter seeing as I read it in a few hours. It wasn’t a struggle to read. But it was different, I’ve not read anything like this before or in this style which I appreciated.

How did you feel about 13 Reasons Why? I think it’s one of those “marmite” books you will either love it or hate it. Has anyone watched the Netflix show? I haven’t and I don’t think I want to. Let me know your thoughts, I would love to chat. Katie x

2 thoughts on “Book Review – 13 Reasons Why

  1. Victoria Symons says:

    Started to watch the show but gave up on it. Like you say there is something slightly melancholic about it. I feel like it had a lot of teenage anxiety and tension which always come across well on screen.
    Loved this review. I think I’ll give the book ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    • brunchingbookworms says:

      Thank you, let me know if you prefer the book or the show. I get the feeling the show is aimed at a very teen audience? I think it would annoy me. I recently read YOU and enjoyed that book and tried to watch the show but couldn’t get into it. But I have always preferred book versions of things ☺️


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