Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher: Reflections + Giveaway

One of the first YA books that I had read and made me want to explore the world that is YA literature is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher….so I’m super excited that it is now available in paperback and thanks to Big Honcho Media I have TWO copies to give away to two lucky readers!!

I went through an emotional rollercoaster while reading this book. I felt sorry for Hannah, I hated Hannah, I wanted to get through all the tapes to figure out WHY she did it, my heart broke for Clay, I wanted to punch certain people and I wanted to never ever have to experience the confusion, the guilt and the “what-ifs” of someone I knew taking their own life. There are so many questions surrounding suicide. At this point in my life while reading this book, I hadn’t really known anyone to commit suicide aside from a neighbor but I was too little to remember. I had lost my mom to cancer a year before I read this but I knew that at least she didn’t CHOOSE to leave me. My heart broke for people who had loved ones that committed suicide and I got emotional and angry at people who did that sort of thing because I know my mom would have given anything to live. And then I after my anger subsided I felt truly sorry for people who had made that decision. I felt sorry that they literally felt they had nothing worth living for. Not one thing that made it worth it. I wanted to hug these people. I truly did. Especially the young ones.

Since reading this book, I have watched my little sister lose one of her good friends at 15 to suicide. I watched her wrestle through the grief and the “what could I have done”, “if only I would have done this” scenarios. And my heart broke. My heart broke that my little sister had to know about these things. My heart broke that a boy of 15, who hadn’t really experienced life, thought that he wanted it to be over. Since reading this book,  I lost a friend to suicide. She was beautiful and kind and just graduated from nursing school. And her friends and her family….we’ll always have questions and never ever get any answers.

Despite what some people think, I believe books like this are special…and not too dark for teen readers. Let’s be honest…life can be too dark. And I feel like I keep seeing young people making this decision to end it and teens deserve to be able to talk about it and reflect on it and know their options. The beauty of a book like this is that there is SO MUCH DISCUSSION that can come from it. A wonderful thing that has come from this book is an initiative from Penguin — The Thirteen Reasons Why Project. Teens from all over (each review is also logged on a map) can share how this book has affected them through text, video or photo. You should check it out! I found it to be a really powerful initiative to see teens speaking out about it.

Now for the giveaway: Two lucky people will win a paperback version of Thirteen Reasons Why. Leave a comment (and with a way I can get in contact with you– Twitter, blog url, email) about either a) why you want to read this book b) your thoughts about this book if you have read it or c) a comment about whether or not books like this are “too dark” for teens. I’d really love to get a discussion started.

+ You don’t have to be a follower.
+ US only since it is being shipped out from the publisher.
+  This giveaway ends 11:59 PM on June 13th

If you aren’t familiar with this book here is a summary:

Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life. But before she does, she records several cassette tapes explaining why and sends them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision. The story is told from the point of view of Clay Jensen who spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah’s voice as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself—a truth he never wanted to face.
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. AliyaPM says:

    I've seen this book around but never bothered to pick it up. I think it's time I do that now. With everyone talking about how "dark" YA books are I've actually been MORE interested (if that's even possible) in the darker books. I'm really curious to hear what's on those tapes.

  2. I've wanted to read this one for quite awhile. We never know what is behind someone choosing to take their own life.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  3. I want to read this one because I study mental disorders and always think it is interesting to be inside someone's head before they make that choice.


  4. Beth S. says:

    I absolutely do not think this book is too dark. I think it's a cautionary tale for teens to realize how you treat people REALLY does matter.

    beths0103 at yahoo dot com

  5. This has been on my TBR for quite a while. It sounds like a heartbreaking read! I am sorry for what your sister had to go through. I've had friends who have gone through the same – it's just so sad!

    (not an entry)

  6. Sammie Spencer says:

    Not too dark. When I was 18, my very good friend committed suicide. It's 10 years later, and sometimes I still wonder what I might have done. Books like this provide an excellent discussion prompt.

  7. SenoraG says:

    I agree with you. I read this awhile back and think it should be read by all teens. Really opens doors for some good talks with kids too. I read it and then made both my boys read it. Great review.

  8. I absolutely LOVE this book! I read it last year, and it was definitely one of my top 5 reads for 2010. After reading it, I also listened to the audiobook. I highly recommend this book for all readers!! Here is a post I did about this book

    I would love to win my own copy. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks! I have a US mailing address.

  9. Peaceful Reader says:

    No need to enter me as I've already read Asher's book. I loved it and went through many of the same emotions you did. I felt for Hannah and hated her for leaving. I think dark books, like this one, serve a deeper purpose and can help heal those of us who've experience this kind of loss. Suicide affects so many.

  10. Nicole Weisz says:

    This book has been on my wishlist for a long time, I have heard the most wonderful things about it. Thanks for the chance to get it!


  11. Tahleen says:

    I did love this book, especially the audio version. I reviewed it a while back, but I'd love my own copy of it.

    As for dark material in YA literature, here are my thoughts:

  12. Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

    I've been wanting to read this book for a while. I've heard so many good things about it. And, especially now since there's a movie.

    I just want to add that I don't think such books are "too dark." These are social issues that need to ge addressed. Nothing can be gained by keeping young people in the dark.


  13. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    I don't want to be in the contest, because I already have the book. I just wanted to comment that I just finished this last night and holy frick. What a heartbreaking, powerful book. My heart broke for Clay, too. Especially finding out what he did while listening to the tapes. Can you even IMAGINE?! I feel like that doesn't even help the matter or make him feel relieved. I'd feel WORSE and be haunted forever. Nonetheless, amazing book.

  14. Rachel @ Bookshelf Lust says:

    This is the kind of book that should be *required* reading in schools. So young people can truly understand the effects of their actions, and maybe make a positive change in the world to stop it. It breaks my heart to hear about teenagers committing suicide. Anyone, really. This month, it will be two years since my best friends father killed himself. I can't help but think it he had read a book like this as a teen, that maybe he would have thought differently.

  15. I read the book and found it compelling and extremely well-written. As a public librarian who has read teen fiction for about 40 years, I know that teens NEED to find books which can help them understand all the issues they face as they grow up. Unfortunately, the world has grown "darker" and there are kids facing issues we never discussed in the 70's…not that some of them weren't there under the surface. It's so much healthier for all of us to be able to learn from both fiction and nonfiction treatments of the very real things that are out there. And reading about other people's situations can help us put our own into perspective as well as broadening our view of the world. Thank you for writing this important book and fighting for realistic YA fiction.

  16. lucybirdbooks says:

    I would love to read it, it sounds like the kind of thing I would have read as a teenager…but I can't enter the giveaway living in the UK, will just have to add it to the wishlist instead

  17. I've been meaning to read this book for a long time. It sounds like an interesting concept. As far as teens reading "dark" books I don't see anything wrong with it. Being a teenager isn't all sunshine and rainbows – far from it. Books can help teens deal with things they are uncomfortable talking about by showing them they are not alone.

    Twitter @elliottkimberly

  18. Cassandra says:

    I don't think that YA books such as this one are "too dark" for teens. Whether people want to recognize it or not, teens face serious, 'adult-like' issues everyday. Growing up, nothing was more comforting to me then reading a book and finding out 'hey it's not just me'. It would be nice if teens could be sheltered from the realities of life, but they are immersed in them just as much as adults and they deserve books that speak to them.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have just finished reading an article in EW about Jay Asher and 13 Reasons Why. I swear I have almost bought this book so many times, not sure why i never picked it up. But after reading the article and your review I definitely want to read it. It sounds like the kind of book can really make you take a look at the way you live your life and how you treat others. Thanks for the giveaway!

    For some reason I cannot get my blogger account to post, so it is saying I am anonymous LOL but you can find me on twitter @JennM14

  20. Kat Werner says:

    We read this for a book group here at my library and because of it we had one of our best discussions ever. Some people didn't understand why someone would kill him or herself. Others were able to talk about how they felt about the book, and depression, and just suicide in general.

    I think that YA fiction is as dark or as "light" as the person who is reading it. People bring a lot of themselves to any book they read, and people tend to seek out books that speak to them. I get sick of people saying that YA books are just dark or are only fluff. YA isn't a genera it's an age classification and within that age spectrum are all sorts of books about different topics.

  21. April X says:

    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂 I read this book last year and LOVED it! I don't think it's too dark for teens (considering I am one) and I think it helps create awareness of suicide and what people can do to prevent it.

  22. Patricia's Particularity says:

    Literature such as this is not "too dark" for teens. They will eventually learn the truth of certain aspects of the world and people and I personally would rather have them educated through books in certain things than experience.


  23. Anonymous says:

    I've read this book and it wasn't 'too dark' at all. At least not in my opinion. It was realistic and raised awareness on the subject of suicide. Hannah's story was written in such a way that I couldn't put the book down!

  24. Sara Grambusch says:

    The subject matter of this book is NOT too dark for teens. It is necessary for teens to read. Suicide doesn't affect only teens, but the issues leading to self-harm often take root during this time period.
    I would absolutely love to read this book. Thank you for hosting the giveaway.

  25. I would love to read this book.

    I have always been drawn to "dark" YA novels. The first one I read at 14 was Go Ask Alice. A great book (dairy really) about a teenage drug user from a well to do family. It was the first book to really make me think about a life different than mine. It was the first book to help me understand other peoples struggles. I hope that other "dark" novels can do the same for other young people like it did me.

    I don't think that books can be too dark for young people. That decision should be up to the young person and their family. I think books like this can help people more than hurt.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  26. I do not understand why everyone is trying to suddenly limit "Dark" fiction and stories from young adult readers. I read all of my father's hard core science fiction by middle school and was reading shakespeare and adult novels that dealt with dark themes in High school. The light fluffy stuff was not a help, it did not show me that there were other confused and messed up kids out there, it did not effect me in the positive way that the true fiction dealing with real situations and real people did.

  27. Ben Spendlove says:

    I've read Thirteen Reasons Why, and it's a good book. It's not too dark for teen readers, and I'd recommend it to most teens. However, I would NEVER recommend it to someone who is depressed or thinking about suicide. To most people, it's a sad story. To some, it's a glorification of suicide. (Take it from me.)

  28. Nikki G says:

    I've dealt with suicidal thoughts an attempts. I'd like to read this book to see what other people think about the topic (even though it's from a fictional point of view).


  29. ferretvamp14 says:

    I don't feel books like this are too dark for teens. We all need someone to relate to and books do just that. They are especially helpful when you feel you can't tell anyone the problems you are facing.

  30. Julia :) says:

    When I read this book I totally devoured it. It was really enjoyable. I've never dealt with anyone close to me committing suicide but I can imagine it would be heartbreaking.


  31. I have seen this book in stores before but never REALLY looked at it and after reading the summary it really sounds interesting. As for the "too dark" comment I just really think they can stick it up there you know what and let us enjoy this hobby that we love they don't need to control what we read it's none of there business.

  32. i would love to read this book, my friends have recommended me to read it and it sounds really interesting but i have not had a chance to read it. i am not a person who reads books from the library its not my thing, i HAVE to buy them from the bookstores and i treasure all my books but its been hard buying books these days.

  33. I would love to read this book. I don't think books like these are too dark for teens. Suicide is something that a lot of teens struggle with. Books like these help people understand and cope with what's going on around them. marcie(dot)turner(at)yahoo(dot)com

  34. Lily Child says:

    Such a great book, with a great message. I actually cried after I read it, and believe me…I am not one to cry.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This book seriously changed my life. When I read this, I was in a very dark place. I would constantly think of committing suicide. I felt that no one cared about me and it wouldn't affect anyone if I were to die. I've always had that dark feeling inside me, and probably always will. The difference is that now I can control it and make it go away, thanks to 13 Reasons Why. Reading that showed that I wasn't alone and people would be devastated if I killed myself. It helped me through my depression. I was a lot like Hannah. I never really showed much of my dark side. My friends had no idea what was going through my head; I was that good at pretending to be happy. Sometimes I believed I was really happy, then I would find myself alone in that darkness. I borrowed 13RW from a friend. I asked her to lend me any books she thought I might like. Little did she know she lent me a book the helped me in such a way. I didn't quite want to read it at first, saving it for after I read all the other ones she lent. When I finally read it, I was so impacted with the emotions of Clay and Hannah. I became part of the book and felt everything Clay felt while also empathizing with Hannah. However the book showed me that suicide is no answer; it only makes things worse for everyone in my life. This book saved me from myself.

    Contact: gendeadislove at aol dot com

  36. Carrie at In the Hammock Blog says:

    thank you for the contest! i've been wanting to read this b/c i read a great article in entertainment weekly magazine about it last week. thank you!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com