13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 

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Wow.  That is the only word that I can use to describe my all night binge on this book.  I checked it out from the library yesterday afternoon and following dinner spent the entire night engrossed in it.  Quiet time at my house will never be the same.  You are captured by the first few pages and just like Clay, you must get to the end.  If you haven’t read it or heard about it, here is a brief.

Hannah Baker is dead.  She committed suicide.  However, she tells the story of what lead to the events through seven cassette tapes.  Thirteen individuals and the parts they played in her life are all outlined for the other twelve to see.  The big mystery of the tapes is that they come in the mail and land on your doorstep so you think you are getting a package from an anonymous person.  Exciting right!? Until Hannah begins to tell her story and the reader gets entangled in the lives of these people who helped, lead and loved her in life.  

We follow Clay, one of the thirteen chosen to “witness” her suicidal cry and that is where the ,”wow” comes in.  As the reader you feel his pain as he tries to understand Hannah and all that she goes through. The anticipation of where he fits in her story also eats away at him with every press of the play button.  Events piece themselves together while the stories are told tape by tape, until your heart nearly explodes with hurt.

Finely crafted, this story (while probably not AS dramatic) could easily be the story of many teens.  It shows that hearing is not always enough but listening, observing and acting are extremely important.  What I think I like most about it was the fact that he implicated many folks.  We walk around in life thinking that our actions don’t always cause harm to others.  We don’t do it intentionally but it happens and can potentially hurt.  It wasn’t just the adults in this story that missed the signs, it was her peers and she made them responsible for that.  

This is in my top ten for young adults.  There are a great many books that toy with their feelings and spend time with the games they play but this one actually shows the consequences when the games backfire.

Well done, Mr. Asher.

 

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