Review: 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons WhyEveryone I know has been raving about the TV series. I have always fallen for books that had characters that dealt with darkdepressed and suicidal thoughts. I don’t think anyone likes happy, chirpy teenagers anymore. Oh we also adore nerdysocially awkward teens. (Sarcasm, peeps).

Author: Jay Asher
Genre: Fiction YA
Characters: Hannah Baker, Clay Jensen, Alex Standall, Bryce Walker, Jessica Davis, Justin Foley, Tyler Down, Courtney Crimsen, Mr. Porter, Marcus Cooley, Zach Dempsey, Ryan Shaver, Jenny Kurtz (Sherri in the series)

When I heard, or read, that 13RW is the new GoT (which I have not read or seen)I could not wait to get back to Dubai, so that I could binge watch the series. As you all would have known by now, 13 Reasons Why, or 13RW,  is a Netflix’s adaption of Jay Asher’s book with the same name. Being the badass that I am, I had to grab the book and read it. And discussed it to few, by few I mean any people who would listen to me, about it.  First of, this is going to be a part post. Now on to the first part, the review. 
13RW talks about Hannah Baker who kills herself with no apparent reasons at bay. Her parents and Clay, her friend are at a loss trying to understand her death. But soon enough, Clay receives a packet of cassettes at his doorsteps, that has Hannah talking to him, among others narrating the reasons that lead her to suicide. He is instructed to pass on to the next person after he hears them. 
The story is fast paced and absolutely un-put-down-able. I loved the clever storyline that kept us on toes till the very end. Each side of the tape talks about a reason that triggered her to die, according to her. The book and the series, both alternate between the voices of Hannah and Clay, which works very well. The series was honest to the book and the audiobook was better even (yeah I did try the audio book as well). There are some changes made to the series, which for me made better sense. But the climax in the book seemed more plausible than in the Netflix series understandably. 

At some low point, most of us would have had thought ‘who would be sorry , if I were dead right now?’. Hannah takes it a little further and takes that action. For me, she is not likable, relate-able or even tolerable. I was feeling that it was like Mean girls part 2, all the way through, except we knew Mean Girls would have a good (sorta) ending. Yes people were mean to her. Boys were particularly mean to her. Friends moved on. Shit happens. That is how life is. Though I agree all these reasons could have snowballed her towards her suicide, it was her choice. 

I agree that every action that people unwittingly commit, might affect others, but that does not make you responsible for their reactions. No, I do not justify their actions, nor do I appreciate Hannah vilifying everyone else. In fact almost every one of the characters had an own issue to cope up in their lives, and they have their own mechanisms. Some work, some did not. Sadly Hannah’s didn’t work and still seems a glamorous way out. The question the story poses is not ‘who killed Hannah?’ more of ‘how do we avoid another death’, though it does not come of quite that way.
While 13RW boasts about talking about suicide among teens, the taboo, I am not sure if it does enough justice to it. Just alienation at the school cannot drive one to commit suicide, without discussing the depressed feeling part. It still confounds me why is it so hard to say depression or mental illness. I have not found even a mention of it in the book or the series. I don’t get how talking against suicide, bullying and rape is encouraged and even glamorous, while depression is not. Again that topic is for another day. Oh well, that disappointed me. 
I loved the story, liked the pace and writing, but I simply hate the hype around it. In short my problems with Thirteen Reasons Whyelgeewrites Review: 13 Reasons Why ir?t=musiovernoth 21&l=am2&o=31&a=0141328290 are two pronged: 1) The characters are not just flawed, they are not deep. 2) It does not talk about the relevant issues, that it boasts of. The message sent across is wrong and poorly researched. There are several loopholes in the story, but I don’t even want to go into that. 
Bottom line: Read once if you wanna know what the hype is all about. If you don’t, you are missing nothing anyway. Pick it up if only books with suicide and rape are okay for you.


  1. Dr. Dawn

    Haven’t seen it yet! Sounds intriguing.

  2. Danielle Leigh Elen

    Wow! I have never heard of this, but I am gripped simply by your review and the other comments here. I wish our culture and society as a whole had more thorough ways of addressing depression, and death. We tend to skirt around the deeper issues, and never really get to the core of things in order to impact true and lasting change. I could keep going with the thoughts in my head here, but I'll stop, lest I write my own blog post on yours 😉

  3. Priyadarshini Rajendran

    Interesting review.. Thanks for saving me the pain. I was planning to read this.

  4. cori pullin

    I didn't read the book but saw the show. What hurt the most, for me, was that she never talked about what was bothering her with anyone, especially her parents. I have a daughter who struggles with severe/major depression and we counseled her against watching it for fear of it being a trigger. Unfortunately she did watch it (she's a grown up now and doesn't live at home) and said it was very difficult for her. What hurt her the most was her mom's role in the show. Seeing how it affected the ones Hannah loved most – her parents. I would never watch it again but think that SO many things could've been prevented and for lack of communication, spiraled out of control where more than one life was taken.

  5. Sophia

    Never been fond of this show. Couldn't even bring myself to watch it. Great idea to review!

  6. Chris Gordon

    I had a hard time watching the series but thought it was better than the book.

  7. Terri

    I didn't realize this was a book. I think suicide is just hard to talk about on any level. Thanks for the review. Great job.

  8. Sierra Winfield

    This book has been on my to read list for a long time. I've watched part of the series though and I liked it

  9. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    Exactly. They might trigger others who are watching it, especially since Hannah succeeded in her effort.

  10. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    The audiobook was awesome. There are few differences between the book and the show. I guess you will enjoy both.

  11. amyp1023

    Thanks for the thorough review! I watched the series and have been thinking about reading the book, but based on your review I think I'll try the audiobook.

  12. Just Another Girl and Her Books

    I haven't read this book yet, but when I saw the hype for the Netflix series I did order a copy…It's on my TBR, and I'll get to it eventually. Great review! – Katie

  13. DJ Sakata

    I'm not familiar with the story but it sounds intense and meaningful, your post makes me want to read it

  14. Book Ink Reviews

    I completely agree. It works as a conversation starter, and that's it. It doesn't glorify the actual act of suicide, but it gives her power in death–which is another big no, no when depicting suicide.


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Gayathri has been reviewing books since 2010. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she works as a writer and a digital marketer. Head over to meet me!