© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thirteen Reasons Why Theme of Love

Thirteen Reasons Why is most certainly not a love story. In fact, as much as she craves it, love is what's missing from Hannah Baker's life. Girls betray her friendship and guys play mean games with her heart and her body. Hannah's real love connection should be Clay Jensen, but rumors about her keep Clay from really trying to get to know her. These rumors also keep Hannah from opening up to Clay when she has the chance. It's downright painful to read about Clay's love (or what could have developed into love) for Hannah as he listens to the story of her life. He realizes that if he'd acted more lovingly toward her, it might have made a big difference in both their lives. When Clay reaches out to his ex-crush, Skye Miller, at the end of the novel, we get the idea that he is no longer so concerned about what others might think. It's too late for Hannah, yes; but it's not too late for Clay to become a more loving person.

Questions About Love

  1. How does Hannah feel about romantic love before she encounters Justin? How do these ideas change over the course of her story?
  2. What are some of the obstacles to Hannah and Clay's could-have-been love story?
  3. Do you think Clay will become romantically involved with Skye Miller?
  4. What role does parental love play in the novel? Does Clay's mom act lovingly toward him? What about Hannah's parents?
  5. How do the themes of sex and love intersect in this novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Clay doesn't realize how much he cared about Hannah until he listens to her tapes.

Hannah and her classmates put too much emphasis on romantic love and forget about the importance of friendships.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...