Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Pub info: Razorbill / Penguin, 2007; 304 pp
Genre: YA contemporary
I've heard so much about this book since its publication and yet I've put off reading it. Was I afraid of it? Yeah, maybe a little. Those of us who have been through the teen years and have struggled with depression don't relish going to that place again. But this is an important book, and ultimately, not a "downer" book. I'm so glad I took the plunge.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Status: finished 5/2/14
This is an important enough book that I shoehorned it in to my Yippee! YA! Month. Yeah, technically I finished it in May, but so what? I really want to give away a copy, and it's my blog, so there.
Why would I do that?
Because Thirteen Reasons Why is not only compelling, readable, and real, it's important. It's important for teens because it opens their eyes to the consequences their actions have. I love kids--I love teens--but I remember what it's like to be so absorbed in my own stuff that I didn't realize how many others out there were hurting. That's not your fault, teenagers--it's part of the biology. But that's why books like this one are so crucial. Jay Asher's expert capture of Hannah's voice puts you right in her head. You'll live her life along with her, and at the same time see what effect her life had on Clay Jensen, who only wishes he had reached out to her in time.
But if you're an adult, thinking, Thank God that part of my life is over, you should still read the book. As adults we get complacent, so happily sheltered in our bubble of grown-up-ish-ness that we also can ignore the people around us who are hurting, whether they're kids or other adults. Remember, fellow grownups: What you think "isn't that big a deal" in a kid's life isn't yours to judge. It's impossible to see ahead to those years when you can look back and think, What was I so worried about? It is a big deal. Read Hannah's story. You'll be very glad you did.
Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California, and worked in libraries, bookstores, and a shoe store before becoming a full-time professional writer. Besides the award-winning Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay is the co-author of The Future of Us (Razorbill, 2011) with Carolyn Mackler and an independently published e-book novella for adults called Brighton Beach Murder (CreateSpace, 2012). Jay is a dynamic speaker and visits schools all over the country.
You can follow Jay's news on his website here, including updates on the film adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why. The book has its own website here as well as its own Facebook page. Jay blogs regularly on his website and also connects with readers on his Twitter account and author's Facebook page.
Want to win a free copy of this book? The first Monday of each month features a giveaway of any of the titles I've reviewed the previous month. Pick your fave, enter, and win! Next giveaway: This Monday! May 5.
SIGN UP HERE TO RECEIVE A BRIEF EMAIL WHENEVER A NEW GIVEAWAY BEGINS.
To follow my progress as I bulldoze my way through a stack of 51 to-be-reads this year, search for the tag 2014 TBR Shelf. Read all the reviews here.