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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not going to do my usual routine for this book, because I'm not sure how I would actually go about booktalking it.

Here's the deal. This book is about suicide. That's not a spoiler, it's the premise of the book. A high school student makes the decision to kill herself, but leaves a trail of clues on a series of audio tapes for those who played a role in her downward spiral.

13 clues, 13 people who Hannah feels like could have stopped it from happening.


I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the book and the show. I haven't watched the show, so I can't say anything about it.

Some people, including reviewers here on GoodReads, feel the book glamorizes suicide. I can see the argument, but I don't fully agree. Hannah's death leaves Clay in an emotional tailspin. There isn't anything glamorous about his devastation at her loss.

I would have liked to see more perspective on others' reactions to Hannah's death. What about her parents? Her classmates? Other teachers? What kind of support was offered afterwards?

Even with these weaknesses, the topic is important. We don't talk about it enough. As a teacher, I've seen suicide in students as young as 15. I hate it. I want our teens to feel like they can talk to us and that we HEAR them. I don't want to be Mr. Porter.

My Recommendation
4.5/5 stars
Grades 8+ (brief adult situations, thematic elements)

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