Monday, September 29, 2008

Reasons you should read Thirteen Reasons Why

I promised to get back to Thirteen Reasons Why and I had to allow for a little emotional cool down and distance before writing about it. This is a powerful novel, well and believably read by the actors. It's also an intense story. One day, out of the blue, Clay receives a set of mysterious audiotapes. He is horrified to learn that they are an extended suicide note from his classmate and crush, Hannah, who recently died. Each tape tells Hannah's story of a high school classmate (or teacher) whose actions contributed to her hopelessness. Clay is sickened, baffled as to why he is mentioned on the tapes, and compelled to listen to Hannah's final words. You will be too.
Jay Asher keeps your attention through the thrilling plot, but also gives you plenty to ponder during and after you've finished Hannah and Clay's stories. Hannah's ability to trust and reach out to others is eroded throughout a series of high school experiences that snowball from merely upsetting to truly horrific. Hearing Hannah's desperation, you are forced to think about seemingly little things that can add up to effect a person. A bit of exaggerated gossip. A not-so-funny joke. Failing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Things that are rampant in high school, but admittedly carry on after as well.
This is a less than comfortable but definitely important and compelling read. Pick it up.

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