Clay Jensen finds a box filled with audio cassette tapes anonymously dropped on his front doorstep. He plays the first one in his dad's boombox and realizes it is his recently deceased classmate Hannah Baker who is talking, before accidentally dropping it when scared by his mom. On his friend Tony's Walkman, which he stole, Clay listens to the first tape, in which Hannah relates the experiences that triggered her suicide. She starts by sharing the story of her first kiss, which was with Justin Foley, who spread a salacious rumor that began her downward spiral. Clay is revealed, through numerous short flashbacks, to have been in love with Hannah and to have worked with her as cinema attendants.
Tape subject: Justin Foley, for spreading a racy picture of Hannah along with a sexual rumor about their encounter.