Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publishing Date: October 18, 2007
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.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a powerful book that deals with teen suicide. We begin the journey with Clay, who listens to the tapes Hannah made. From the beginning, we know that Hannah is dead which is such an interesting device because there will be no saving her. With each tape, you feel that you are with Clay,waiting to find out what he did to help propel Hannah to kill herself. Clay seems like a nice guy and talks about how much he cared for Hannah. He has regret because if he had only known how serious it was, he may have done everything differently.
The book is inventive in having a character who has died as a narrator. The writing style of switching back and forth between Hannah on the tapes and Clay in the present, helps propel the story forward. Hannah is with Clay as he gets through all of the tapes. Clay’s heart breaks as he learns about the betrayal and horrific situations Hannah faced. Hannah shows us how each choice we make can influence those around us.
Thirteen Reasons Why deserves all of the praise it receives. It is a beautiful book that can broach the difficult subject of teen suicide while being entertaining and in the end, hopeful.
If you are the parent of or are a teen, has a book ever helped you discuss a difficult topic?
Summary and cover image taken from goodreads.