THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher
Published 10/18/2007 by Razorbill
You know a book’s good when it gives you nightmares.
Imagine you come home one day to find a package on your doorstep. Inside it are a bunch of tape recordings detailing the last words of someone who recently committed suicide. And you’re apparently one of the reasons.
I mean, come on. That alone would give a person nightmares. But Jay Asher does such an incredible job getting inside Clay and Hannah’s heads that you feel as if you know them both. And that you, the reader, are one of the reasons Hannah died, not a fictional character.
The book’s written as a kind of thriller, which works really well. The format itself is a little strange in that it’s constantly shifting between Clay and Hannah’s narratives, but after a few pages you get used to it. And in the end, I can’t imagine the book being written any other way. Nothing would’ve been as effective.
The premise of the book is actually not unique, considering the unfortunate amount of teenage suicides each year, but that’s part of why the subject matter is so important. Jay Asher highlights a major problem kids face today, and hopefully makes the reader think twice about the way they treat people. Everyday problems like gossip, friendship, relationships, doubt, rape and suicide are all covered in here, and then some. And the way the book is written really elevates the subject and makes the story unique. I loved the way Hannah used the tapes, and how she wove all the stories together. It was clever, and it makes me excited for anything else Jay Asher may write in the future.
I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it in under two days, and with the amount of reading I have to do for work, that’s saying something! There was just no way I could put it down. With such vibrant characters placed in such terrible circumstances, you just want to reach out and help. For those of you who enjoy the dark and gritty side of YA, this one should be right up your alley.