Letter Essay #7 13 Reasons Why – Katherine Sheehan

Katie Sheehan


Period 2 ILA

Due April 23

13 Reasons Why

Recently I reread the book 13 Reasons Why a 288 page, 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel published by a company called Razorbill. The author of this book, Jay Asher, was born in Arcadia, California September 30, 1975. Jay’s inspiration for this novel was from incidents that happened at his own high school as a kid.

13 Reasons Why is a fascinating realistic fiction novel that 2008 One the best book for young adults award (YALSA).Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, and Glass once said “Every once in awhile you come across a book that you can’t get out of your mind, one you have to rush back to if you must put it down for some reason. Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those books, and is at the very top of my personal ‘Must-Read’ list.”And I couldn’t agree more. I read this book for the first time over the summer. I had also watched the whole entire Netflix series twice. I really fell in love with the Netflix series because personally, I don’t like reading also, watching a show is much more practical for me and I can re-watch it anytime effortlessly. I do think the book is better than the show. I love this book and I felt like I wanted to read it again, just to really appreciate the beauty of this novel. I would rate this novel a 10/10 because I really enjoyed how the eerie and devastating tragedy adds a level of depth to the story and makes it so moving.

The novel 13 Reasons Why is about why Hannah Baker, a sophomore at Liberty High School, took her life. In the story, Hannah Baker underwent a devastating amount of social pressure and anxiety forcing her into a severe depression. She leaves behind a series of tapes, they get passed through specific people.The tapes come along with a map so the listeners can physically follow along while listening to the recordings.  Everyone who gets the tapes has a tape about them, designated to them, as a reason why Hannah Baker killed herself. Once a person finishes the tapes they pass it on to another person that is pre-decided. Clay Jensen was a former classmate of Hannah’s, He had started to develop feelings for her around the time she took her life. One day he comes home to see a box of cassette tapes on his doorstep. He was confused, concerned and curious. Throughout the story, you follow Clay’s point of view as he feels Hannah’s immense pain first hand.

I wonder why Hannah didn’t talk to Clay about her problems. I understand that with the pain she felt it would be really hard to talk to people but I feel Hannah would have survived High School if she had become closer to clay. Clay Jensen really cared about her and he really wanted to be there for her but he didn’t show it.  is Hannah became more open about her emotions and tried to talk to someone about how she felt, she probably would have lived.

I like this author because he writes from real experiences even though the books are fiction. I feel Jay Asher’s inspiration is what makes the book so powerful. It is a really difficult topic and suicide is not a joke. I think he captured the emotions and the Devastation you cause to someone when you kill yourself. After this book In the Netflix series was released it became a Lifeline for some people. Changing some people’s lives. This was Jay Asher’s first book and it was a huge success.

After reading the novel 13 Reasons Why I felt informed. Knowledge is power,  these are heavy topics no one really talks about them. Even though the information I received was through a show, I feel like it’s better to be informed than to not be informed at all. I have personally been bullied in the past and I know what it does to people. After seeing what happened to Hannah baker I feel like I came out of reading this book with some extra knowledge on sexual assault and bullying. Someone who was struggling could learn something from what Hannah did. See from her mistakes.

This passage from the story really moved me, it reads “Like driving along a bumpy road and losing control of the steering wheel, tossing you—just a tad—off the road. The wheels kick up some dirt, but you’re able to pull it back. Yet no matter how hard you try to drive straight, something keeps jerking you to the side. You have so little control over anything anymore. And at some point, the struggle becomes too much—too tiring—and you consider letting go. Allowing tragedy… or whatever… to happen.”

What I love about this passage is that it captures how Hannah feels, how anyone who struggles with depression feels. Knowing that lots of kids suffer from depression, this is very relatable.  Depression is not just like sadness, depression is eternal sadness, the feeling of having no will to do anything, and struggling to get through basic things.Depression is not easy to deal with and sometimes it becomes too much to handle. That passage explains how it feels to be depressed and struggle against yourself every day until you just can’t anymore.I am very happy I decided to read 13 Reasons Why again. And I look forward to reading it in the future because a book like this should not be forgotten.

Click Here to Watch The Netflix Trailer For 13 Reasons Why

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8 thoughts on “Letter Essay #7 13 Reasons Why – Katherine Sheehan

  1. Dear Katherine,
    First of all, I’m glad that a Netflix series got you to read a fantastic book. On a related note, this is a great piece of writing.
    Good job!


    1. I agree with Jake, Katherine. I have said in class that I don’t want students writing letter-essays on books that they have re-read or have seen movies or shows about. But it is a great piece of writing.
      Mr. Jockers

  2. Dear Katherine,
    I agree with you; Thirteen Reasons Why (the Netflix series AND the novel) has a powerful message about a topic so ghastly and uncomfortable that people hate to talk about it. That’s the problem though, we need to talk about it. You really captured that feeling in your letter essay. Well done! Thanks for sharing! One piece I really liked about your writing is when you made the connection that not only was it the people who bullied her’s fault, but it was also Hannah’s fault as well because she didn’t look for help as hard as she could have. You wrote: “If Hannah became more open about her emotions and tried to talk to someone about how she felt, she probably would have lived.” I think you really got the message the author was trying to convey through his writing. Some spelling/grammar mistakes, but otherwise, good job!

    Jalen Johnson

  3. Dear Katherine,
    Great letter essay! I have heard of this show on Netflix before! I didn’t know that this was a book! It seems that you went deep into this book with forming questioning and analyzing the author’s feelings. If you add some more text evidence then it will make it that much better! Keep up the great work and keep asking questions!
    Mia Larkin

  4. Katie,
    This is a great piece of writing! I really liked the book you choose, and aside from it being a Netflix show, it carries along a really powerful message. I actually didn’t know this was a book, and now, I think that I should read it! Great work!!!
    Amber Borofsky

  5. Dear Katie,
    I haven’t seen the popular series on Netflix, but have heard about it likewise. I didn’t know 13 Reasons Why was also a book! Based on your summary I learned the gist of the book, and also expressed the same feelings and concerns as you. Why didn’t Hannah reach out to those she knew loved or cared for her?

    Good job!

    -Isabel Prentice

  6. Dear Katie,

    I think that you did an amazing job of writing your letter essay. You used so many writing techniques and did a great job of explaining to the book in detail without giving to much away! I think you also did a great job of expressing your feelings as well as describing the story!

    You did an amazing job!


  7. you did a good job on explaining what was happening in the book and also you did good on tell us how you feel about this book. good job!!


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