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13 Reasons Everyone Needs to Watch “13 Reasons Why”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Whether you read Jay Asher’s compelling novel “13 Reasons Why” or just need a new series to binge watch on Netflix, “13 Reasons Why” is a must-see show. While it does veer from the book’s storyline, this new Netflix original series will take you through the melodrama of teenage angst and the harsh realities many teenagers face every day.

The series walks viewers through the life of Hannah Baker, a high school girl whose life seems like literal hell. Each episode recounts bullying, rape and day-to-day struggles that Hannah dealt with as a teenage girl in high school. And, spoiler alert, Hannah doesn’t survive the personal hell she lived in. Hannah kills herself and leaves 13 tapes behind; one for each person who caused her pain in her short life.

While a series about a teenage girl killing herself doesn’t seem like it should be your top choice on Netflix, “13 Reasons Why” is a must see. “13 Reasons Why” doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities that today’s teenagers face. Anyone who has been through high school can relate to Hannah’s struggles, and even adults should watch this series for some insight into high school life today.

1. “13 Reasons Why” is a realistic depiction of today’s high school teen life. Don’t expect this series to sugar coat anything for you. You’ll watch how Hannah Baker is bullied over the course of her short life. These scenes aren’t filled with bullies dunking the nerdy kid into a toilet or the jock beating someone up for lunch money — these scenes are real and they happen to students every day.

2. It shows and explains how teenagers think scientifically. Viewers get an inside view of how teenagers think and feel. To adults, these issues seem trivial. But to teenagers, these situations feel like they’re going to last a lifetime. “13 Reasons Why” even gets into the science behind why teenagers feel like their problems will never end. For anyone who thinks Hannah’s problems are “trivial,” it makes much more sense when you understand that the front lobe of the brain that is responsible for judgment, impulse control, mood and emotions is the last part to develop.

3. It opens your eyes to bullying that you might not even think is bullying. Who would believe that a guy who votes her “best ass” would be one of the reasons Hannah would end up killing herself? A lot of teenagers see these “small” incidents as trivial and fail to see the harm that harassing someone as a “joke” really has.

4. This series is going to stick with you. “13 Reasons Why” is going to have you thinking to yourself “would I be someone’s reason?” and “who can I help today?” The message that this series sends will resonate with you forever.

5. It’s based on a best-selling book. Granted, the series doesn’t follow the book to a tee, but the original novel was written a decade ago. The series modernized some of the events and really brings this New York Times best-seller to life.

6. It’s a modern portrayal of high school. Okay, so Hannah records her 13 reasons on old-fashioned tapes and uses a map. But “13 Reasons Why” is a scarily accurate portrayal of high school today. It shows how social media can cause issues that start in school to carry over even when students aren’t in school. “13 Reasons Why” also shows gay and lesbian characters.

7. You will be a better person because you watched it. This show helps you see what someone in need might be crying out for. You’ll be able to recognize those warning signs in people that you know and people that you’ll meet in the future.

8. It doesn’t sugarcoat suicide. “13 Reasons Why” could have easily been a thriller series of just listening to tapes from a dead girl. However, “13 Reasons Why” shows life after Hannah. You’ll watch her friends struggle, you’ll see her parents sadness and you’ll see many characters regret not helping her when they had the chance.

9. You won’t be able to stop watching. Every episode of “13 Reasons Why” will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. You’ll be crying because you feel the characters pain and you’ll throw things because you’re so angry someone didn’t help Hannah.

10. “13 Reasons Why” will challenge you as a person. Are you overlooking warning signs in people? Have you ever bullied someone and never apologized?  This series will have you reflecting on your own life as well as how you impact others.

11. It will help you start important mental health discussions. If starting a conversation on depression, anxiety and suicide is hard for you, “13 Reasons Why” is a great discussion point. It’s never too early to have important mental health discussions, especially when you never know who needs someone to talk about it and who needs to listen.

12. You’ll learn that everyone has their own truth. While you feel for Hannah and her story, many of the character’s recount different versions of the same events. This series teaches you that everyone has their own truth.

13. There’s nothing else like it. You won’t be able to find a Netflix-original series that discusses mental health and sexual assault all while taking you through modern-day high school life, teenage angst and romance. When I say “13 Reasons Why” is a must watch, I’m not lying.

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