Thirteen Reasons Why Book Review

13 Reasons Why Book Review header

Last month I finished listening to the audiobook of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and since I watched both seasons of the series on Netflix, I wanted to compare the book to the series.

13 Reasons Why audiobook screenshot from Libby Trigger Warning: Suicide

13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen after he receives a box of cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah Baker who committed suicide 2 weeks earlier. In the tapes, Hannah explains the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life and why Clay is one of those reasons. Both the Netflix series and the book follow a similar plot, but in the book Clay listens to all the tapes in a single night whereas in the series it takes him much longer and he interacts with his classmates at school as well as Hannah’s parents at their business. Clay’s relationships with the others adds another element to the story, but the book by itself is powerful. The second season of the Netflix series departs from the book and follows the court case between Hannah Baker’s parents vs the school because they failed to protect her from committing suicide, which was interesting to watch.

In both the book and series, you hear Clay’s thoughts as he is listening to the tapes. I thought it was important to see how someone close to Hannah was impacted by her death. The book and series discuss difficult topics including suicide, bullying, and victim-blaming. Despite the difficult topics, I did not find the book that emotional whereas the series made me cry several times. I have also read some negative reviews saying that the reasons why Hannah committed suicide were not believable, but I thought they were. Hannah went through horrible experiences in high school that built up inside her. Just because many teenagers experience bullying in high school, there is no reason to believe it was unrealistic for Hannah to commit suicide since people cope differently.

13 Reasons Why is an important book to read because it shows how your actions no matter how small can affect others. If you decide to read the book, I highly recommend the audiobook because there are two narrators, one for Clay and one for Hannah when Clay is listening to the tapes.

Overall, I recommend reading Thirteen Reasons Why because it highlights difficult topics including suicide and how people’s actions can affect others.

$10.30 at Book Depository

Rate: 8/10

Have you read or watched 13 Reasons Why? What did you think?

If you or anyone you know need help finding support and crisis resources in your area, go to for more information. 

25 thoughts on “Thirteen Reasons Why Book Review

  1. I liked the book ! And when I watched the series i didn’t like the fact they deviated from the book so I couldn’t watch the second part! But listening to the book was an emotional journey by itself !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t read the book but I watched the series. It is a hard watch- but also, I think it did create incredibly important conversation as you said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karalee!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not read the books, but I watched the series, and I thought they were well done, portraying the situations we all face from time to time. Yes it may not be enough for you personally to commit suicide, but it’s false to think it’s not for someone else, so I found it believable and relatable. I hope it makes more people aware of their actions no matter how small x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear you thought the series was well done, and I agree that even though Hannah’s reasons were unbelievable to some people, they were enough for Hannah and possibly others going through a similar situation as her.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched the series first and really enjoyed it but I wasn’t a huge fan of the book. Like you, I didn’t find the book particularly emotional but the series was a whole different story. I know they changed her method of suicide for the series as well to make it more shocking and I wonder what people’s reactions would have been if they’d kept with the original?


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes in the book it’s only implied Hannah was raped, but the series made it explicit. I think they wanted the series to be more shocking like they even changed her method of suicide to be more graphic.


      2. The way I recall that scene in the book, he ended up with reaching into her bikini bottoms, and “that was all he needed”, which I took to mean he came or something, and the way I understood it, he let her go after that. Maybe my memory is off.

        If they changed it to rape for shock factor, that’s pretty distateful, and also ruins a lesson of how sexual assault doesn’t need to involve penetration to be traumatising.


  5. I read the book when I was in middle school or maybe, high school & had always considered it one of my faves. I loved the series, too & agree that it was even more emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ive watched the first season of thirteen reasons why on netflix and have got it audible to listen to but havent had the chance, great review

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Karalee,
    I read 13 Reasons Why last year, having already watched the first and second series on Netflix.

    For me, the book hit hard as I felt closer to Clay and his experience of Hannah’s death, perhaps because we see so many more viewpoints in the tv series that it may have distracted me a bit from his.

    The tv series was admittedly difficult to watch in some places but I also saw a lot of myself in Hannah and some of the specific struggles she faced. I was glad that the producers didn’t shy away from the difficult and at times disturbing subjects as I feel that other young people (and older people too) will be able to watch it and say, ‘hey, I went through that too,’ and that maybe there are other options than suicide if they can just find the courage to speak to someone.

    Loved this review. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.