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.
When I first heard of Thirteen Reasons Why and its premise, I knew I had to read this book. I’ve seen nothing but outstanding reviews for this book, not to mention the countless awards it has received as well. And let me just say, bravo Mr. Asher, BRAVO!
We follow Clay Jensen from the moment he finds the box on his door step until he mails it onto the next person. Clay comes home from school and finds a package addressed to him at his door step. When he opens it up he finds a shoebox full of cassette tapes, seven tapes in all. He goes out to the garage and pops in the cassette labeled number one, side A.
Now can you see why this book caught my attention from the very beginning? Trust me, you’ll swallow it in one sitting. You'll stay up all night to finish this book.
Hannah makes the disheartening decision to end her life. She committed suicide by way of swallowing pills and she has left a suicide note in the form of the cassette tape recordings. To me, this is completely eerie! Listening to someone’s voice, someone who is no longer with us, is haunting and eerie. It gave me the sense of false hope and denial. Like she really isn’t dead. But she is. You're a day late and a dollar short.
Hannah threatens to release a second set of the tapes in a very public manner if the package doesn’t make it through all of the people it’s intended for. And since Clay received the tapes, he’s on one of them and therefore he’s one of the reasons. So, why is Clay on the list? He’s a good guy. He liked Hannah. I mean he liked her. What could he have possibly done to make this girl want to end her life? As I read the parts of Hannah's recording, I couldn't help but feel so helpless. I wish someone would have paid closer attention to the signals Hannah was leaving.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a compelling look at how people's actions, even the smallest ones, can have an impact on others. And what we might not realize is that these actions and the impact they cause can snowball into so much more. Asher’s riveting debut novel on such a morose subject matter captured my attention and my heart.
Asher is definitely an author to watch out for. He has the ability to grab the reader and pull them right into the heart and soul of the story. Thirteen Reasons Why was a thought-provoking, page-turning read full of suspense. I was instantly pulled into the story from page one. Check back tomorrow for my interview with Mr. Asher!
Unfortunately, there have been a few headlines in the news recently regarding people who decided to commit suicide. There was Casey Johnson, heiress to the Johnson & Johnson Company. There was also Andrew Koenig, the guy who play Mike Siever's best friend on Growing Pains. And most recently, Marie Osmond's teenage son. This book should definitely be part of the school curriculum and required reading program. I think we all could be a little more aware of suicidal signals - teenagers, adults and especially teachers and school administrators.
People, especially pre-teens and teenagers going through adolescence, need to know that they are not alone. There are people available to talk to. There is so much more to life, so much out there to experience. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can call 1-800-SUICIDE or visit www.hopeline.com, both of which are available 24/7.