Cassette 2: Side A
Though it may seem as if she was alone once Kat moved away, Hannah did have two friendly acquaintances during the first weeks of freshman year. Alex Standall and Jessica Davis, also new to Crestmont, were the first people Hannah met besides Kat. Ms. Antilly, Hannah’s guidance counselor before Mr. Porter, introduced Hannah to Jessica. Though they were both initially resistant to the introduction, Jessica and Hannah decided to hang out together at Monet’s Garden Café & Coffeehouse, a local coffee spot.
Outside of Blue Liquor, Clay throws away the Butterfinger because he feels too queasy to stomach solid food, and takes a sip of his soda. When Hannah talks about Ms. Antilly and mentions how unfortunate it is that Mr. Porter replaced her as guidance counselor, Clay breaks out in a cold sweat. Recalling Mr. Porter’s reaction to Hannah’s death, Clay wonders if his guidance counselor and English teacher also played a role in Hannah’s suicide.
At Monet’s, Hannah and Jessica met Alex, who was also new to Crestmont. At first the girls accused him of checking them out, but once they learned he was also a new freshman, they invited him to sit with them. The three newbies hit it off and agreed to act as a crutch for one another during those first weeks of school. During those weeks, they met periodically at Monet’s and shared their trials and tribulations with navigating their high school’s social scene. As time passed, Alex stopped coming and his acquaintance with Hannah cooled. Jessica continued to come for a few weeks more, but eventually her and Hannah’s conversations dwindled into idle chitchat and she stopped coming as well.
At the curb in front of Blue Spot, a city bus pulls up in front of Clay. It’s free to ride the bus at night, so Clay hops on. He plans to just ride the bus until he’s done listening to the tapes, but as it heads into the downtown area, he realizes it will pass Monet’s soon. He asks the bus driver to stop near the café, and hops out.
Hannah, Jessica, and Alex continued to remain at a distance from one another until Alex released his list. Shortly after the list made its rounds, Jessica approached Hannah at school and asked her to meet at Monet’s. At the café, Jessica confronted Hannah about the list and insinuated that Hannah met Alex behind Jessica’s back. Jessica refused to believe Hannah’s explanations because Justin’s rumors made her believe that Hannah was promiscuous. Hannah was crushed, partly because she had hoped the rumors about her would end at her old school, and partly because she assumed Jessica would trust her over unsubstantiated gossip. After she listened to Hannah’s side of the story, Jessica punch-scratched Hannah in the face. Hannah developed a scar in the shape of Jessica’s fingernail above her eyebrow. This scar plagued Hannah everyday until the day she died, because it represented Jessica and Alex’s betrayal.
As he listens to Hannah and Jessica’s confrontation over Alex’s list, Clay wishes he had thrown away all copies of the list he saw laying around their school. He remembers a moment in the boy’s locker room when a group of guys teased Alex about sleeping with Hannah. When the group of boys left the room, Alex denied the rumors, but Clay still felt jealous because of the feelings he had for Hannah. In the present, Clay reaches the entrance to Monet’s and goes inside.
Jessica’s story complete, Hannah asks Jessica if she went to her funeral and saw the scar on her face. Clay reveals that none of them went to Hannah’s funeral, because there was no funeral.
Cassette 2: Side B
At Monet’s, Clay orders a coffee and wonders whether he should stay up late to finish the tapes, or if he should just listen until his tape and the one after it to see who he must pass them on to. At he debates in his head, the girl behind the counter asks him what he’s listening to. She reveals that she remembers Clay from high school because they shared a class together. She thought he was the nicest guy, albeit a bit quiet. As she goes to help another customer, Clay wonders if she would still consider him "Nice Guy Clay" if she heard Hannah’s tapes. As he goes to sit with his coffee, he thinks about how he used to walk past the store of Hannah’s parents in the days following her suicide. He remembers seeing numerous package notifications from the mailman stuck on the store’s door, evidence that Hannah’s parents had left town with Hannah’s body before they could get things in order.
Clay finds a free table near a window and hits play on the recorder. No sound emanates. He cranks the volume until the static of the tape fills his headphones. Suddenly, Hannah’s voice comes in a whisper.
Hannah reveals that Tyler Down, the school photographer for social events, spied on her through her bedroom window. She mentions, while recording this story of her Peeping Tom, she is crouched outside of Tyler’s window, spying on him in turn. At first Tyler, isn’t home, so Hannah describes to her listeners what she sees in his room. When he arrives, Hannah recounts the story of when she first realized she had a Peeping Tom. Her parents were away for the weekend, and Hannah was home alone. As she prepared for bed, she heard the click of Tyler’s camera as he took photographs of her through her window. At first Hannah thought she was imagining the noise of the camera, but as the clicks continued to happen she realized that she had a stalker.
As Clay listens to Tyler’s unmasking, he first feels embarrassed for his classmate, but quickly grows angry with him for breaching Hannah’s privacy. He wishes that Hannah had called the cops on Tyler, because perhaps that may have stopped the snowball Hannah keeps referencing from running over them all.
Hannah begins to describe what Tyler is doing in his room, but then stops abruptly. Her intent isn’t to embarrass or spy on Tyler, but to show him what it feels like to have your privacy invaded and to be driven to paranoia. She turns her back to Tyler’s window and continues with her story.
After Hannah realized there was a Peeping Tom spying on her, she decided to confide in a girl in one of her classes. This girl was extremely popular at school and known for being sympathetic and a good listener. Hannah was hoping this girl would validate her fears, but instead the prospect of a Peeping Tom excited her. Despite her misgivings, Hannah decided to ask the girl to help her catch the Peeping Tom. The girls laid a trap for Tyler in Hannah’s bedroom, and caught him in the act of masturbating while watching them through the window. The next day at school, Hannah realized Tyler was the Peeping Tom because he had a defensive response when Hannah asked him where he was the night before.
Tyler’s stalking had many negative repercussions and impacts on Hannah’s mental and emotional health. Her house no longer felt like a safe place for her because of his invasion of her privacy. Furthermore, one of the side effects of Tyler’s stalking was Hannah having a complicated relationship with the girl she recruited to help her catch Tyler. Hannah says this girl is the topic of Cassette 3.
Cassette 2 over, Clay gets up from his table in Monet’s and goes over to the café’s bookshelf. The café has scribble books where patrons can doodle, write inspirational quotes, rant, leave signatures, etc. Clay searches through the books for something from Hannah, something beautiful to combat the ugliness of the tapes. He finds a page where Hannah, Jessica, and Alex all signed their names. He also finds a picture of Hannah and Courtney Crimsen, a popular girl at their school, smiling together at a party. Clay notes that while Hannah looks happy and pretty in the photograph, Courtney looks nervous.
Cassette 3: Side A
Courtney is the girl that helped Hannah expose Tyler. In the beginning of Courtney’s tape, Hannah describes how idolized and loved Courtney was at their school. Everyone thought she’s so sweet and nice, but Hannah claims that this was a façade. Courtney acted perfect and sweet so that everyone would like her, but in reality she used people and was a true friend to no one.
In the days following the incident in Hannah’s bedroom, Courtney went back to treating Hannah like a casual acquaintance, sometimes even purposely ignoring the other girl. Hannah was disappointed, but not surprised, as she watched Courtney do the same to countless other people. She was shocked however when Courtney asked her to go to a party with her. Hannah’s shock ended when Courtney asked her to drive them to the party, thus revealing that she’s using Hannah. Still, Hannah agreed, and the girls went to the party together.
Still in Monet’s, Clay pulls out Hannah’s map and looks for the red star at Tyler’s house. He questions his desire to go to all the locations Hannah pinpoints in her tapes. Is he too obsessed? He rationalizes his commitment to the story as respect for Hannah’s last requests rather than obsession.
When the city bus pulls up in front of Monet’s, Clay runs out of the café and boards it. As he waits for the driver to pull off, he listens to the tape and checks Hannah’s map again when she mentions Courtney’s house as another red star. It’s only a few blocks from Tyler’s house. Again, Clay questions the pressing need he feels to follow Hannah’s map. He realizes that he’s not doing it for Hannah, but for himself, because he needs to understand what happened to Hannah.
The bus approaches Courtney’s street. Before Clay can exit, another passenger, a girl named Skye Miller, speaks to him. Skye was Clay’s eighth-grade crush, but in recent years she’s distanced herself from her peers. When Clay asks her where she’s going, Skye says nowhere. He feels as if he should stay on the bus and try to talk to Skye, but he knows that it will be a one-way conversation. Before he can make up his mind, Skye says she will see him at school tomorrow, effectively ending their conversation. Clay is partly relieved, gets off the bus, and starts walking in the direction of Tyler’s house.
As he walks Tyler’s block, Clay wonders how he’ll be able to figure out which house is the right one. He doesn’t wonder for long, because it soon becomes obvious. Someone has smashed the window of Tyler’s bedroom, and the fractured pieces are being held together with duct tape. As Clay approaches the window, he wonders if it was someone from the list that threw a rock at it. Just then, a voice comes from behind Clay and asks him if he wants to throw something. When Clay whips around, he sees the voice belongs to Marcus Cooley, another student at their school.
Marcus offers Clay a fist-sized rock to throw at Tyler’s window. He reveals that he is also on the tapes, but doesn’t seem to be ashamed. According to Marcus, two others from the tape have also come to Tyler’s house and thrown rocks at his window. The first was Alex, who asked Marcus to point out Tyler’s house before Marcus even knew about the tapes. If Clay doesn’t throw a rock, he would be the first person not to.
Though he is upset at Tyler, Clay recognizes the hypocrisy of anyone on the tapes judging Tyler for what he’s done, when they’ve all committed terrible acts against Hannah. He also questions why Marcus gives him such a big rock to throw, when the other rocks used were clearly much smaller. He wonders if there’s a reason Marcus wants him to finish the destruction of Tyler’s window.
Clay calls Marcus a dick, and refuses to throw the rock. He asks Marcus what he did to Hannah, and the other boy denies his culpability, and says that Hannah just wanted an excuse to kill herself. Marcus’s callous words enrage Clay, and he quickly leaves before his desire to fight Marcus overpowers him. As he walks away, he hits play on the tape player.
At the party, Courtney quickly separated from Hannah, and told her that they would meet up later. Hannah wandered through the party alone until she saw Tyler standing by the entrance. She approached him and asked him what he was doing, and he nervously replied that he was taking photos for the yearbook. As they talked, another boy approached them and told Hannah that Courtney sent him over to talk to her. Eventually this new boy revealed that Courtney didn’t actually send him over, but that he wanted to talk to Hannah after hearing from Courtney that Hannah kept sex toys in her bedroom drawers.
Hannah began to cry because she was devastated by the lies Courtney was spreading about her. She started walking towards Courtney to confront her, but then had a better idea. Hannah forced Tyler to take a picture of her and Courtney, the same photo that Clay sees in the scribble book at Monet’s. Courtney protested the picture-taking because she didn’t want physical evidence tying her and Hannah. She only acquiesced because Hannah accused her of using her as a chauffeur.
After Tyler took the picture, Hannah left the party. As she walked towards her car, Tyler came up from behind her and asked for a ride home. Hannah laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the night, but agreed to give Tyler a lift. As they drove home, Tyler tried to strike up a conversation, but Hannah cut him off. Once she dropped him off, Hannah drove through Crestmont, exploring its hidden roads, and came to the conclusion that she was sick of the town and everyone in it.
After interacting with Marcus and listening to Courtney’s story, Clay agrees with Hannah’s assessment of Crestmont. He continues to walk away from Tyler’s house and listens closely to the next tape.
Cassette 3: Side B
This tape opens with Valentine’s Day. One year, the Crestmont cheerleaders organized a Valentine’s Day fundraiser where students paid to find out who their perfect match was amongst their peers. Hannah participated in the fundraiser, and when she went to the front office to submit her survey, she was asked about her friendship with Courtney. The picture of her and Courtney was posted in the yearbook room and made it seem as if the two girls were close friends. The lie the photograph presented about Hannah and Courtney shook Hannah, and made her realize that no one around her knew the truth about her life. This was the moment when Hannah truly began to feel as if her life was out of her control.
Hannah feared that participating in the fundraiser might open the door for more gossip and negative comments from her peers, but decided to remain optimistic. When she went to pick up her list of matches, a friendly cheerleader printed out her list and looked over the list of names with her. As the girls talked, Hannah received a phone call from one of her matches. It was Marcus Cooley, and the two agreed to meet at Rosie’s for a Valentine’s Day date.
A few blocks from Tyler’s house and his own home, Clay sits down on a park bench under a streetlamp as he listens to Hannah’s next tape. He remembers the cheerleader’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser very well, because he filled out his survey as Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye as a joke, but ended up receiving multiple phone calls from strange girls. Now, he regrets his decision and wishes he’d been truthful on the survey. Perhaps he would have gotten Hannah?
As he listens to Hannah’s interaction with the cheerleader who helped her, Clay is sure he knows who it is. Clay thinks it is Jenny Kurtz, because she is the only cheerleader he witnessed having an emotional response to Hannah’s passing. When Hannah says the identity of the cheerleader will be revealed in a few more tapes, Clay feels gutted yet again. He realizes that no one’s reputation and none of his memories are safe from Hannah’s tapes.
In the hours leading up to her date, Hannah felt a little wary and suspicious. She knew that Marcus was a good friend of Alex Standall, and she knew she couldn’t trust Alex after his "Who’s Hot/Who’s Not" list. Still, she decided to go to Rosie’s as agreed because she wanted to give Marcus her trust, the same trust she wanted others to give her in spite of her reputation. Unfortunately for Hannah, this trust proved ill-placed. When she arrived at the always-busy Rosie’s, a place no one goes to alone, she had to wait for Marcus for thirty minutes. Evidently he had thought they were joking around earlier. As she waited for Marcus, Hannah had a mini breakdown, complete with paranoia and anxiety. When he finally appeared, Hannah was in a dazed state of mind.
Clay’s mother calls, interrupting Hannah’s story. She knows something is wrong, but accepts her son’s lie that he’s at Rosie’s. Clay asks his mom to bring the rest of Hannah’s tapes to Rosie’s for him, and she agrees. Once he hangs up the phone, Clay sprints to Rosie’s, which is also another star on Hannah’s map, so he can beat his mother there. He makes it to the intersection in front of Rosie’s, but doesn’t go inside because of what he’s hearing through his headphones.
After his arrival, Marcus convinced Hannah to move to a booth in the back of diner. He sandwiched her between himself and the wall, and sexually assaulted her. Hannah eventually managed to shove Marcus out of the booth and onto the floor, which made it obvious to everyone in Rosie’s that something was going on. But no one helped her, including Zach Dempsey, Justin’s friend from Cassette 1.
Once he hears what happened to Hannah at Rosie’s, Clay can’t go into the diner right away. He instead walks to the movie theater where he and Hannah worked together for one summer because he needs to go to a place where Hannah was once safe. It’s not a red star on Hannah’s map, but in Clay’s opinion it should have been.
After Hannah shoved him out of the booth, Marcus called her a tease in front of everyone and stormed out of the diner. Alone, Hannah went over in her mind everything that had happened to her since coming to Crestmont. She had her magical first kiss, only for it to be thrown back in her face. The first two people she trusted, Jessica and Alex, turned against her, used her for revenge, and accused her of betrayal. She discovered that a classmate was invading her privacy, asked another classmate to help her with the situation, and ended up being the topic of more rumors. Against her better judgment, she tried trusting one more time, and Marcus showed her why that was foolish. As she sat in Rosie’s, reeling over Marcus’ behavior, Hannah began to wonder if she would ever have control over her life.
In front of the movie theater, Clay thinks back to the times he and Hannah shared as employees there. One moment in particular stands out, a time when Bryce Walker came to the movies with a date. Halfway through the movie Bryce’s date fled the theater crying, but Bryce stayed and finished watching it. When he finally came out, he stood and talked to Hannah under Clay’s jealous eyes. Later, once Bryce left, Clay asked Hannah why she was talking to Bryce if she knew he was bad news, and Hannah responded that Clay didn’t need to take care of her. At the time Clay didn’t push back against Hannah’s words, but now he realizes that he should have tried harder. He realizes that this was his chance to reach Hannah, and he let it slip away.
As Hannah foreshadows on Cassette 1, the snowball that bulldozed through her life grew exponentially in size and speed on Cassettes 2 and 3. Beginning with Jessica’s attack, on these tapes Hannah also had her privacy stolen, experienced betrayal by someone she turned to for help, and was sexually assaulted in public. The combination of this series of traumatic events, their combined emotional and psychological effects, and the impact they had on Hannah’s reputation amongst her peers, all drive Hannah to question her life. In other words, this is when thoughts of suicide begin to creep into her mind.
Hannah’s meeting with Jessica in the aftermath of Alex’s "Who’s Hot/Who’s Not" list is a key moment in the book for several reasons. For starters, it is Hannah’s first betrayal at the hands of another girl. Though Hannah does not explicitly articulate that Jessica’s betrayal cut her more than the betrayals of Justin and Alex, it is suggested that the lack of female solidarity impacted Hannah heavily. The emotional and physical pains of her confrontation with Jessica lead to psychological pain as well. The scar Jessica left on her face tormented Hannah day and night. She anthropomorphized it, claiming that the scar said “Good morning” to her every morning, and “sleep tight” when she went to bed (106). For Hannah, the scar symbolized Alex’s revenge on Jessica, Jessica’s betrayal, and the repercussions of her peer’s actions.
Jessica’s tape isn’t the only time the themes of betrayal and revenge are alluded to on Cassettes 2 and 3. Courtney’s tape also features elements of betrayal and revenge. After Hannah trusted Courtney with her Peeping Tom problem, Courtney betrayed that trust and spread lies about Hannah around school. She falsely claimed that Hannah had sex paraphernalia in her bedroom drawers, solidifying Hannah’s unearned reputation as a promiscuous girl. Now, through the tapes, Hannah is able to get revenge and ruin Courtney’s reputation as a sweet and friendly girl by exposing Courtney’s true colors. Hannah also gets revenge on Tyler for his theft of her privacy and peace of mind when she exposes him as a stalker and records his tape outside of his bedroom window.
As we see on Courtney and Tyler’s tapes, exposing hard truths about her life and her peers is another of the main themes on Hannah’s tapes. Time and time again, Hannah’s revelations about their classmates have stunned and sickened Clay. For example, on Marcus’s tape when Hannah describes how the other boy sexually assaulted her, Clay’s stomach churns, and he thinks, “it’s too much… to handle” (222). This is the third time (that we know of) the boys in Hannah’s life subjugate her body because of her reputation. After hearing Justin’s lies about being allowed to touch Hannah’s breasts in the middle of the park, Marcus probably thought he would get similar allowances in the middle of Rosie’s. Again, the gossip and sordid reputation surrounding Hannah have real, tangible repercussions in her life.
Along with most of the book’s main themes, this section of Thirteen Reasons Why also includes many of the work’s major motifs. As Hannah foreshadowed on the Cassette 1, stealing took on a more immaterial form on Cassette 2. Tyler stole Hannah’s privacy, thus jeopardizing her sense of safety and peace of mind. This, paired with the other events of Cassettes 2 and 3, led Hannah to begin thinking about giving up. As she explains using the driving simile on Courtney’s tape, her life was careening out of her control like a car about to crash. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t wrestle it back on track, and by Marcus’s story, Hannah wondered if she would ever be able to. Thus, the idea of giving up began to haunt her.
Another motif that makes an appearance on these tapes is the desire to change past events. When Clay listens to Hannah, Jessica, and Alex’s meeting at Monet’s, he wants to rewind into the past and caution them of the events to come. He wants to warn them of Alex’s list, Jessica’s betrayal, and Hannah’s suicide. Clay thinks that if the three hadn’t met, perhaps Hannah wouldn’t be dead. Of course, this is a futile desire, and Clay recognizes the impossibility of it being satisfied. Still, the futility of wishing to change the past doesn’t stop Clay from wanting to change it again while listening to Hannah’s story about the Oh My Valentines. He had filled out his survey as if he were Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, and gotten matched with some strange girls. He wishes he had filled it out as himself, because perhaps he would have gotten matched with Hannah.
Foreshadowing is becoming a constant element in Thirteen Reasons Why, and Hannah utilizes it again to hint at events on future tapes. For example, when she talks about Ms. Antilly, the former guidance counselor who introduced Hannah to Jessica, she says cryptically how unfortunate it is that Ms. Antilly changed schools. Hannah doesn’t explain why it’s unfortunate that Ms. Antilly left and Mr. Porter took her place. She just says it’ll be revealed on a later tape. A big party that’s yet to come is also foreshadowed on these tapes. Clay believes this party is where he enters into Hannah’s story. However, Hannah refuses to explain before the proper time, and so Clay can only continue to listen and wait on tenterhooks.