13 Reasons Why Everyone is Shook

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On March 31, Netflix released a new show, 13 Reasons Why, and Netflix bingers have not been the same since.

“People — no matter what age — you can relate to this story,” said executive producer Selena Gomez about the show’s message and importance. “Everyone has gone through this. And more than ever, this should be talked about today.”

The new show is an adaptation of Jay Asher’s 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why. For fans of the novel, a screen adaptation of the unique novel has been long-anticipated. The film rights were originally purchased in 2011 by Universal Pictures. The plan was to release a film with Selena Gomez as the top biller; however, the film never panned out. Instead, the adaptation was purchased by Netflix with Gomez serving as an executive producer.

The series retains the same plot and message of Asher’s novel. It focuses on the events that led up the high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide and the aftermath of her tragic death. But Hannah did not leave the earth quietly. She left behind a series of thirteen tapes- one for each person who inadvertently was one of the reasons she killed herself.

The series begins when the tapes reach Clay Jensen, Hannah’s friend and admirer. Clay does his best to listen to Hannah’s story and visits the sites she has marked in the accompanying map, despite the pain her memories bring him. He soon begins to realize the ugly secrets his school is hiding and the personal demons Hannah was suppressing which culminated in her death.

The show has been praised for not only staying true to the novel’s message, but also for doing justice to issues such as rape, suicide, and depression, adding dimensions to them that even the novel did not.  Many viewers have praised it for accurately depicting the struggles so many teenagers go through, with many even saying they wish they had had a character such as Hannah to look to when they were younger. The show does not shy away from the issues to which the novel brought light. It does not sugar coat or hide anything. It is honest and raw because the characters and the viewers do not deserve anything less. For the show to hide and censor anything would defeat its entire purpose.

Several of the episodes begin with trigger warnings due to the graphic scenes and sensitive topics which are depicted. Take precaution before viewing the show as many of the episodes may be triggering and come with no warning.

13 Reasons Why is being praised as one of Netflix’s best original shows yet, and rightfully so. Because the novel only explores as far as the thirteen tapes which the series already covered, it is unknown if the series will return for a second season. However, there is no doubt that fans are not done listening to the secrets of Liberty High, with even the novel’s author agreeing that the series has another story to tell, beyond the one Hannah left behind.

“I’d just like a continuation of all those characters. I’m curious as well. What happens to Clay? How do people react to what Alex did at the very end? What’s going to happen to Mr. Porter? I’d thought of a sequel at some point. I’d brainstormed it, but decided I wasn’t going to write it. So I’d love to see it,” said Asher.

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