Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
What if someone you knew committed suicide and then sent you a recording explaining the role you had in their suicide. Would you listen to the recording? This is Clay Jensen’s dilemma when he recieves an unlabeled package containing seven tapes and a map. The voice on the tape is Hannah Baker a classmate of Clays who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s instructions are to listen to the tapes, follow the map, and then pass them on to the next person on her list. Afraid of what role he played in Hannah’s suicide, Clay is reluctant to listen any further. However, once Clay starts the tapes he is compelled by Hannah’s honest and often painful narrative on the events that lead to her death. Through Hannah’s eyes Clay learns that one small action can tear a person’s life apart, and uncovers truths that change his life forever.
Thirteen Reasons Why is Jay Asher’s first novel, and the premise for the novel was conceived after he took an audio tour at a museum. (Apparently the woman’s voice on the audio tour was “eerie,” and it was unsettling for him to hear an unseen voice describe something in front of him.) From the very first chapter I was hooked into the characters and found the two perspective narrative to be riveting and fresh. The plotline was suspenseful and I wanted to know, like Clay, how he played a role in Hannah’s death. Overall, Asher does an excellent job weaving a story that is gut-wrenching and true to teen life.