Jay Asher's captivating novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, embodies seventeen-year-old Clay Jensen as his life is altered forever when he receives in the mail thirteen mysterious cassette tapes. Little does he know that on these tapes is the voice of Hannah Baker. Clay is one of the few people who are able to see Hannah for who she is after she moves to his town, and he eventually develops a crush on her. However, there is one startling dilemma; Hannah Baker commits suicide just a week before the tapes reach Clay. Each tape holds a unique story personalized for each individual who play a part in Hannah's death. As Clay pieces together how each person lead Hannah to her demise and the mystery of her decision is slowly unraveled with each side of the thirteen tapes, Clay gains a new perspective on the girl he dreamed of having. Hannah is not what everyone else makes her out to be: a teenager with a wild side who enjoys doing anything with any boy. She is just the new girl at school who has a new rumor based around her everywhere she goes. No one comes to her rescue, however. Those rumors are enough to end her life. .
As Clay thoroughly listens to each tape, he learns how each individual story links to the other. Hannah is able to find a starting point of the endless rumors and disastrous events that take place in her life, and that starting point lies in the hands of a fellow student at their school. Hannah tells Justin Foley in the first tape, "When you reach the end of these tapes, Justin, I hope you'll understand your role in all of this. Because it may seem like a small role now, but it matters. In the end, everything matters" (Asher 13). Hannah's words reiterate the fact that every person affects another in their own way. In some cases, it builds upon previous effects until that person is close to breaking. The author does a remarkable job of putting the reader in Hannah's shoes as she tells her alarming story.