'13 Reasons Why': A Book-To-Screen Adaptation That Works

13 Reasons Why, a teen-suicide best-selling YA novel, has finally debuted on small screens.

13 Reasons Why, which debuted its full first season on Netflix on March 31, has attracted global attention not only because it is exec produced by Selena Gomez, but also because it centers on high school bullying and teen suicide.

The 13 Reasons Why book, which was published by author Jay Asher in 2007 and earned the New York Times best-seller status in an instant, has finally been adapted to small screens and has so far received mostly positive reviews from TV critics.

The 13 Reasons Why TV series, which stars Dylan Minnette as high school student Clay Jensen, boasts a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer and scored 9.1 out of 10 on IMDb.

The 13 Reasons Why book, which brings attention to some of the most pressing issues in some teenagers' lives – bullying and suicide – centers on Jensen (Minnette), who gets his hands on audiotapes recorded by his classmate and friend that had recently committed suicide.

Just like the title suggests, in the audiotapes the teen named Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) details 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself.

And while many people have lambasted 13 Reasons Why book for, as they believe, promoting suicide among teens, the book and its Netflix adaptation actually explains the reasoning (13 reasons, to be exact) behind the decision to take one's own life.

"Kill 'Em With Kindness" singer Selena Gomez, who serves as executive producer on 13 Reasons Why, admitted in her interview with the Hollywood Reporter that the story in the 13 Reasons Why book resonated with her, which is why she wanted to help turn it into a Netflix series.

"I see myself as Hannah so much. I wanted it to feel like anyone can see themselves in this."
One would expect exec producers of the TV series adaptation to remain loyal to every tiniest detail of the 13 Reasons Why book – it became a best-seller after all – but there were still several major changes from the book.

The 13 Reasons Why Netflix TV series departed from the novel by taking place in a modern setting, but it was probably a very smart move.

Since the 13 Reasons Why book was published a decade ago – back when teenagers weren't so obsessed with social media – exec producers decided to take a more modern approach in the TV adaptation.

While the 13 Reasons Why book showed how Hannah's life was plagued by rumors spread by her classmates by word of mouth, the 13 Reasons Why TV series depicts the impact of cyber bullying and negative text messages on Hannah's life.

Also, in the 13 Reasons Why book Clay listens to the audiotapes recorded by his deceased classmate over a few weeks, while in the TV series he listens to all the tapes within just 24 hours.

While the 13 Reasons Why 13-episode Netflix series departed from its original storyline a little bit, the show's creator, Brian Yorkey, didn't shy away from exploring some of the most pressing issues not only in every teen's, but also every adult's life.

In the 13 Reasons Why book, the author details how sexism and sexualizing young girls can easily lead to sexual assault. And the 13 Reasons Why TV series, for which half of the writers are women, explores how socially accepted sexualizing can slide into sexual assault.

While there's no denial that both the best-selling 13 Reasons Why book and the critically acclaimed 13 Reasons Why TV show teach modern teens valuable lessons, some critics slam the Netflix series for seemingly glorifying suicide.

Suicide is a tricky subject, especially in the United States, where suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, according to the Jason Foundation.

[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/AP Images]