Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Plus Netflix's Original Series Review)

I picked up Thirteen Reasons Why  several weeks ago because I knew that Netflix was coming out with the series version March 31. ...

13 Reasons Why, Netflix original, book review

I picked up Thirteen Reasons Why several weeks ago because I knew that Netflix was coming out with the series version March 31. Y'all know I have to read the book before I watch it (in most cases), so of course I read the book.

The premise is dark - a girl (Hannah Baker) killed herself, and blames 13 reasons that drove her there. She records 13 stories on cassette tapes that explain each of the 13 reasons. The people in the stories are sent the tapes after her death and must pass them along to each other to hear what actions added up to make life not worth living for her anymore.

The story is told over the time length that one of the people involved in the reasons, Clay Jensen, is listening to the tapes. The problem is, Clay has no idea what he did - he loved Hannah.

Each story is deep, but some seem more menial (someone stealing anonymous compliments from her compliment bag) while others are much larger (something that causes someone else's death, rape). Overall, it's a reminder that the actions you take can truly effect others - you never know what they are going through.

Suicide is a difficult topic. It's heartbreaking and can be prevented, but it's also selfish. This YA novel shows the struggles and thoughts and feelings that can force someone to feel there's nothing left. Something that may seem menial to you can be life-changing (or life-taking) to others, but being a person who loses someone to suicide is really difficult too.

In the novel, you only hear two sides of the story - the main story, through Hannah Baker's tapes, and Clay's story, however, you're missing the story and character development of all the other figures within the story. That's what the novel is lacking.

Here comes the Netflix original series.

The first few episodes of 13 Reasons Why were a struggle for me, because (you know why!) I kept comparing it to the book. Once I stopped comparing, I fell in love. I felt all the feels. The series provides character develop for the characters, including Hannah's parents - who, surprisingly, you never even meet in the book. There's also a ton more present-day drama in series. It's not just about Hannah - it's about how the others (the "reasons") are handling this situation.

The show does get pretty graphic at times, so beware. However, I highly recommend watching the show (maybe read the book afterwards, so you can fully appreciate what's happening).

Warning: The last three episodes will destroy you..

Have you watched or read Thirteen Reasons Why? Let's chat!

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  1. I LOVED the show. We binge watched it on Sunday. I didn't even want to watch it because I wanted to read the book first...but per your review and some others I have read it was probably a good choice to watch the show first. Still definitely want to read the book for comparison though!

    1. The book is definitely worth reading, but be glad you watched the show first. The show is way more detailed, which much more character development. The book is still emotional, but it's a quick read.

  2. I had no idea it was a book first! I think I'll take your advice and watch the show first before reading the book.

    1. Yes. It's a good read, but the show is definitely better!

  3. I have only watched the show but first I decided to read this book but then after reading your comment that show is better I am thinking not to read it hehe.

    1. I really do enjoy the show much more than the book! It's so much more meaningful, I think.