Book H00t #36 13 R3asons Why

The blurb:
Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a box sitting on his doorstep. Upon opening it, he discovers that it is a shoebox containing seven cassette tapes recorded by the late Hannah Baker, his classmate and  crush who recently committed suicide. The tapes were initially mailed to one classmate with instructions to pass them from one student to another. On the tapes, Hannah explains to thirteen people how they played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons to explain why she took her life. Curiosity and fear of exposure keep the people on the list listening to the tapes, and through the audio narrative Hannah reveals her pain, and her slide into depression that ultimately leads to her suicide.

Thirteen reasons why I didn't love this book:

1.  Stupid number/ letter title.
2.  The main character Clay, is on Hannah's list when he hasn't wronged her in any way- it's all a narrative ruse.
3. The premise that teenagers would pass on tapes- tapes!- to others thereby incriminating themselves and opening themselves up to derision. Would. not. happen.
4. Dark, dark theme. No likable characters, no sensible adults, only a glimmer of light at the end.
5. Suicide is represented as easy. I think this is dangerous- just last week I heard on radio that in Australia, every day, six people take their own lives.
6. The representation of school as being the worst possible place for Hannah, isn't realistic for me. Naive?
7. The narrative voices were annoying for me. I thought Clay's responses to Hannah's comments interrupted the flow and dragged the plot's heels.
8. I've read that some people find this book 'preachy'. It's just NOT preachy enough.
9. The English teacher acting as a 'substitute' counselor was a bit too neat in gathering the poetry and lack of sensible advice together.
10. It makes the reader into a voyeur.
11. I wanted it to be better, I wanted the suicide to be a ruse, another rumour and the revenge to be ramped up as a result.
12. Hannah is not nice. The revenge seems petty at times.
13.Hannah is a victim- weak right from the get go. Not someone I would want a teenage girl emulating, or even thinking about too much.

2 hoots/ 5

Happy tales, and happier books!

Barking Owl


  1. Sorry you didn't like it. I completely love this book and thought it so well done.
    The reason why Clay is on the list because of what she did to him and not vice versa like the rest of the list. Hannah is not a girl to emulate, no. She chooses the "easy" way out and then guilts all these people who never have a chance to make it right. I think the whole point of the book is to say that small actions effect people in different ways and small unkindness add up after awhile.

  2. Hi Andrea,it's not often that I publish a negative review of a YA book, and this one was recommended by a student to make things worse! I think that teens would enjoy the revenge,but for me the narrative conceits outweighed the point of the book.

  3. I was about to say that I wanted to buy 13 Reasons because of the whole suicide thing and the passing on of tapes but in reading a book, we need to find characters that will really strike us and make the book worth becoming a page turner.

    Book sale channels

  4. I've been tempted to pick up this book for awhile now (when it first came out at the store I work at we got a TON) but all these mixed reviews have been putting me off it.
    Buuutt, I did love that you put this into 13 reasons why not to read the book!