Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

There are books that, when you read them, you know will stay with you for a long time. Jay Asher's first novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, is just such a book. Clay Jensen receives a package of tapes that detail the thirteen reasons why Hannah Baker has committed suicide. Recorded before her death, the tapes are Hannah's own accounting to the thirteen people who contributed to her decision to end her life. Just as Clay must know why he is involved and listens to the tapes without a pause, we want to know what has happened to this young woman that has caused her to make such a decision.

Hannah's taped voice appears in italics, interspersed among the the thoughts of Clay. Although he has had a crush on Hannah for a time, he cannot figure out what has caused him to be included in the persons who will be receiving the tape. Also among those receiving the tapes is the boy who was her first kiss and ruined her reputation, the one who labeled her as having the best a-- in the school, the girl who pretended to be a real friend and a peeping Tom who stalks her outside her window. All of them have played a major role in her high school life, but were their actions enough to really put Hannah over the edge.

This is an eerie story. At times it feels that we are eavesdropping on a very private conversation between Hannah and Clay. But we read, anxious to get to the end because we have to have the answers. This book resonates with the truth - the truth that, even what seems as an inconsequential action, can have consequences that snowball. This novel is so well written and so powerful The lives of those who have received the tapes will never be the same. It is a guarantee that the reader's life will not be the same either upon finishing the book.

Don't wait to read this one!

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