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I’ve been a maniacal reader lately, doing my best to devour as many good reads despite having far less time with the start of the school year. I tend to alternate between short stories, novels, and a handful of young adult books to keep it interesting, and there was one I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is now one I’d like to share with you.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a gripping young adult novel about the death of a high school girl named Hannah Baker. Hannah died of a suicide, and while everyone dismissed her death as that of a lost and selfish teenager, the narrator, Clay Jensen, is about to discover that there was a lot more to Hannah’s death than everyone suspected. There were thirteen reasons, as it turns out—thirteen people who affected her life in the worst of ways when she cried out for help, and thirteen people to whom she’s addressed a box of cassette tapes as a pseudo-suicide note to be passed around after her death.
Hannah’s voice plays through the entire book, taking us on the haunting journey of a misunderstood teenaged girl, whose life was worth far more than anyone gave her credit for and for whom the impact of rumors, gossip, and bullying teens drove her to a tragic and terrible choice. In listening to her tapes, Clay leads us through all thirteen people who brought Hannah down. He changes his perspective about how we as humans treat one another on his path to understand her, and the result changes his life forever.
The book was a New York Times and International Bestseller, and it’s really no surprise why. Moving, heartfelt, and devastating, the book makes you rethink how you interact with those around you, each moment creating tiny cracks in the surface of our being that together have the potential to form one gaping hole. Most of us adults have learned how to get past this sensation—but for our teenagers, it’s a heavy stress that they may not yet be ready to handle.
I think this book is one that everyone should read, particularly teenagers. I also wish it was on our district’s reading list, but alas, I don’t know how most parents would react to such a moral lesson told in the pained, distant voice of a lost little girl. Instead, I’ll just recommend it here—over and over again.
Great book, friends. Be sure to check it out.