Release Date: October 18, 2007
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Fountain Bookstore
Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 13 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.
I can't say enough about this book. It's the first book I've picked up in a long while that blew my mind. That's because Asher's debut exceeded my expectations on every level. It's beyond a quick read. Asher's writing is crisp and clean, and it wasn't frilly in the least. The deliberate brevity suits the story well and made some moments of Clay and Hannah's story unbelievably real. (I mention both of them because even though Hannah's voice only appears on audio tapes, it is truly their story.) All of the characters are unique and well-developed. I loved them, hated them, felt sorry for them and sometimes found myself wanting comfort or scream at them. The bottom line is that this novel moved me in a way that I don't think I've ever experienced.
I know people are divided on this book, and that's fine because sometimes that's all an issues book like Thirteen Reasons Why needs to do. The point is that it makes you think about the issue at hand, in this case, suicide. (There are many more, but that's the main focus.) It forces you to step out of your own life and think about the "what ifs" and the things you're never considered in your own life. It forces you to consider that the decisions one person makes can affect other lives. Thirteen Reasons Why does all of these things.
Whether you like Hannah and Clay or hate them, you'll get an intimate picture of how the actions of many lead one girl to end her life and how her decision and the electronic ghost she leaves behind affects those she holds responsible.