Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
(Razorbill, 2007, 304 pages)
Thirteen Reasons Why revolves around the untimely death of Hannah Baker. Clay is surprised to come home to a package with no return address – what he finds inside are 7 casette tapes, each side of which is numbered.These tapes contain the thirteen reasons why Hannah decided to kill herself and each of those reasons is connected to a specific person. If you received the package containing the tapes, that means you’re on her list. Clay isn’t sure what to do; he’s stressed, he’s sad, he’s scared, but he has to listen to the tapes. As he does we learn about Hannah and what was going on in her life to make her feel like suicide was the only possible option. While she recounts her story on the tapes we hear Clay’s thoughts as he processes what he’s learning. It’s pretty shocking the things you don’t know are going on beneath the surface…
This was a good read, but I came into it expecting to be kind of blown away based on the reviews and attention the book received. It’s a unique premise with the reader “listening” along with Clay as he plays through the tapes and gains insight into why Hannah made the decision she did. I can see the appeal for the young adult crowd. Asher takes on a serious topic in a way that isn’t preachy or over the top.