Thirteen Reasons Why Book to Show Comparison and Review


Original cover of Thirteen Reasons Why novel.

Last week, Thirteen Reasons Why shocked the current high school generation in presenting a realistic story of a high school junior by the name of Hannah Baker.

The show was based off of the New York Times Best Selling novel that shares the show’s title. Jay Asher wrote the book in 2007 and inspired pop singer Selena Gomez and her mother to create a TV series.

However, not everything stayed the same when the series aired on Netflix.

Here are the top four differences the series added, tweaked, and flat out forgot:

1. Clay takes his time listening to the thirteen tapes.
The Netflix slew of episodes occur over at least a week long period. Tony, Clay’s closest friend, tells Clay he’s the slowest of the listeners. However, in the novel Jensen rushed through all 13 tapes in one night.

2. The Baker’s are suing Liberty High.
Another added detail to the adaptation was the lawsuit involving Hannah Baker’s parents and the high school Hannah attended, Liberty High School. The Bakers believe the school is responsible for their daughters suicide. However, the book excluded the parents in the plot. Now, the Bakers have their own arc in the story line.

3. Hannah’s suicide was different.
Considering that Hannah Baker’s suicide was the entire foundation of the story itself, one would think that this would be a vital detail without any alterations. Wrong. In the book, Hannah passes away by an overdose of unidentified drugs. In the screen adaptation, however, Hannah slits her wrist- a gory detail repeated constantly over the course of the series.

4. It’s 2017.
Jay Asher published Thirteen Reasons Why in 2007, a decade long difference to the adaptation on screen. Social media becomes a focal point of Hannah’s triggers, where her most humiliating photos are shared and everyone actually owns cell phones. As well as the term “FML” between Alex, Jess, and Hannah replaced the term “Olly olly oxen free.”

The novel and series both deal with issues that can often occur in the life of a high schooler. The adaptation stayed respectively similar to the novel, and did not tread lightly on the controversial topic.