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15 Differences Between Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' And The Book

The show is based on a novel of the same name.
PHOTO: 13 Reasons Why/Netflix

Whenever a beloved book gets turned into a movie or TV show, the faithful immediately dissect the new adaptation to see what got changed. Usually, the time constraints of a two-hour film, or even a 10-hour TV season (ahem, Game of Thrones), mean that lots of details get cut out, but the opposite is true with Netflix's take on the Jay Asher book 13 Reasons Why. The series is made up of 13 hour-long episodes, which means each side of Hannah Baker's cassette anthology gets its full, nuanced due. Aside from the general fleshing out of the story, though, there are plenty of other differences between the book and the show—some minor, and some that truly change the nature of the story.

This post contains spoilers for all episodes of 13 Reasons Why.

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  1. Clay takes his sweet time listening to Hannah's tapes

    In the book, Clay powers through all 13 sides of Hannah's tapes in one long, coffee-fueled night, but in the show, he goes much more slowly. In episode two, Tony even tells Clay that he's "the slowest yet" of any of the tape listeners.

  2. Social media is a thing

    When the book was first published in 2007, Facebook and Twitter existed but were not anywhere near the juggernauts that they are today (and Instagram wouldn't appear for another three years). In the book, gossip seems to spread the old-fashioned way, via word of mouth, but on the show, images and rumors circulate via text messages, social media, and Hannah herself laments how things like Facebook have made us all "stalkers."

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  3. Tony follows Clay to check on his progress from the very beginning

    Clay finds out that Tony is watching him in the very first episode. In the book, Clay doesn't figure it out 'til he's on cassette four, which is also when Tony first confronts him about stealing his Walkman.

  4. Hannah's parents are suing her high school

    The Bakers barely appear in the book, but they have a full-fledged story arc in the Netflix adaptation. They believe the school should have done more to prevent her death, and Mrs. Baker (Kate Walsh) in particular does some sleuthing to figure out what's really going on at Liberty High. In one episode, she goes into the school bathroom only to find hateful messages scrawled all over the walls, and she also finds the "hot or not" list that Hannah discusses on the tapes. As it happens, the lawyer representing the school in the case is Clay's mother.

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  5. Clay and Hannah are closer to one another

    The book presents Clay and Hannah's relationship as somewhat one-sided. He liked her, but was a little afraid to talk to her much; she was kind to him, but they didn't really speak much outside of work. On the show, Clay and Hannah have a lot more interaction, which in turn leads to more missed opportunities for Clay to notice something was amiss with Hannah.

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  6. Clay is taking medication for some of his own psychological issues

    At one point, Clay's mother places a prescription bottle of duloxetine, used to treat depression and anxiety, next to his breakfast. He protests that he doesn't need anymore and that it might be expired, but she says it's a new prescription. If book Clay has any such prescription or past history with medication, it's never mentioned.

  7. The Monet's group says "FML" instead of "olly olly oxen free."

    It's 2017, after all—gotta update the lingo.

  8. Courtney Crimsen and Hannah's trap for Tyler goes much farther than a back massage

    When Hannah and Courtney attempt to find out who's stalking her, they stage a risqué but ultimately innocent encounter in Hannah's room. On the show, they get a little drunk and make out, and Tyler catches them mid-kiss. Courtney worries about the photo getting out because she does not want her classmates to know she's gay.

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  9. Hannah slits her wrists

    Clay says in the novel that Hannah killed herself by taking unspecified pills, but on the show, she slits her wrists in the bathtub. You also see this scene play out in a very graphic and harrowing way in the final episode.

  10. Jenny Kurtz is now Sheri

    When Hannah participates in the Valentine's Day fundraiser in the book, the cheerleader who helps her is Jenny Kurtz, who later appears as the person driving the car that knocked over the stop sign, thus causing someone else to die. The show replaces Jenny with Sheri, still a cheerleader, but one who becomes close with Clay and eventually hooks up with him.

  11. The crash that Sheri causes kills someone Clay knows

    Instead of killing a stranger, the aforementioned stop sign accident results in the death of Jeff, a friend of Clay's who helps convince him to talk to Hannah at the party.

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  12. The Bakers own a pharmacy instead of a shoe store

    They're still being put out of business by a larger, national conglomerate though, in this case, called WalPlex.

  13. The other people on the tapes keep trying to stop Clay from listening to all of them

    Because Hannah's tapes contain multiple crimes, including Bryce's rape of Hannah and Jessica, the other "reasons" don't want Clay spreading the information around, lest any of them end up charged with something. In the book, Clay keeps the tapes to himself for the most part, and there's no coordinated effort to stop their spread.

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  14. Clay confronts Bryce and records his confession

    A change in the order of the tapes from book to show means that Bryce follows Clay, but instead of giving them to Bryce, Clay records Bryce as "side 14" and passes them to Mr. Porter. Later, Tony gives a copy of the tapes, side 14 included, to Hannah's parents.

  15. Alex also attempts suicide

    Alex has difficulty fitting in throughout the course of the show, and at one point, he jumps in a pool and behaves as if he's not sure he wants to get out. This culminates with him shooting himself in the head; at the end of the series, he's in critical condition. If the show ends up getting a second season, it seems highly possible that Alex's story will take center stage.


    This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.