A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Inspired parents and teachers could use this book to talk about teen suicide and about the destructive nature of bullying, gossip, and indifference.
Hannah's message is to "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.
Positive Role Models
Readers will feel sorry for Clay, who had a crush on Hannah and is horrified to be one of the 13 reasons she killed herself. Through tragedy, he learns to reach out to others.
Violence & Scariness
A girl is raped, a girl describes how she gave in to a rapist's sexual advances, a teen is killed in a car crash, a girl commits suicide, there's a fight among a couple of teens, and some property is vandalized.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's sexual innuendo, kissing, and inappropriate touching -- a boy grabs a girl's butt.
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Some swear words typical of teen banter.
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Products & Purchases
Types of cars and food products mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of underage drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this bestselling novel is about a teen girl's reasons for committing suicide, which she articulates in audio tapes she sends to 13 people, mailing them on the day of her death. The book includes discussion of rape, voyeurism, underage drinking, sexism, revenge, and survivor's guilt. There are positive messages here about the importance of treating people with kindness -- and about the price of inaction -- that parents and teachers may want to help teen readers think and talk about. The 10th anniversary edition (cover pictured here) includes an introduction from the author, deleted scenes, the original ending, and more bonus material. The book has been adapted for a Netflix series, set to premiere March 31, 2017. A TV tie-in edition of the book (to be released March 7, 2017) includes interviews with the actors.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.