Parents' Guide to

Thirteen Reasons Why

By Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Disturbing suicide novel examines bullying, indifference.

Thirteen Reasons Why Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 36 parent reviews

age 12+

Unsatisfactory for its topic

This is definitely readable for middle-schoolers, although some concepts may not be understood. Generally the book didn't do well in representing and teaching a lesson of preventing teen suicide. It mainly represented suicide as a great way to make others feel terrible about themselves. It seemed rather strange that there were no responsible adults. Teaches a few good lessons and is worth a read, but it generally wasn't realistic and did not live up to expectations.

This title has:

Too much sex
2 people found this helpful.
age 15+

Passing the Blame

I gave this book one star, but it took me a long time to come to this conclusion. While it was well written, as far as interest and development, I have a HUGE issue with the message of the book. I was first introduced to this book by a few of my 8th graders who read it, but wanted to read as part of our after-school book club. These are the kids that are reading this book and perhaps getting the wrong message about suicide and taking responsibilities for your own actions. In this book, Hannah, commits suicide, but blames it on other people. She records messages for 13 people she holds accountable for her need to kill herself and ensures that these tapes are delivered to all 13 people. While those people played a rather large part in significant events in her life, mostly by starting rumors or doing things they felt okay about because of the rumors. This book is sending out the wrong message to children. This book was about revenge; not about suicide. Hannah wanted those people she felt slighted by to hurt as much as she was hurting. She took no responsibility in making the decision to take her own life. It is well documented that people who commit suicide do so because they know no other way to stop the pain. It is also well documented that people who commit suicide or attempt it have some form of mental illness, usually depression. None of that was brought up in this book. This book completely negates that and the author should be ashamed of himself.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (36 ):
Kids say (166 ):

Teens will identify with the sometimes-oppressive culture of high school. First-time author Jay Asher's story presents the dark side of teen life: drinking, sex, rumor mills, suicides, cries for help, inept or absent adults, and the mean spirit that surrounds the general high school student body. Here everyone's a victim, an enabler, or a perpetrator, and some of the characters are all three, including Hannah Baker. Her tapes and reasoning are, at times, just as selfish and mean as those she accuses. And, although we see some of the 13 characters not showing much remorse, the majority of them are already burdened with "should haves" when Hannah's tapes arrive.

For any teens who've had dark thoughts of their own, the aftermath of Hannah's decision and the conclusions Clay reaches hopefully will make them think again. But this book has messages that will reach all teens: Hannah warns that we must "be careful how you treat people, you never know how it will affect them." Readers also will realize that inaction -- whether to stop a crime or a rumor or talk to a troubled student, friend, or child -- can be just as damaging as deliberately inflicting pain.

Book Details

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