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Thirteen Reasons Why Paperback – June 14, 2011
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When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he's surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He's one of 13 people who receive Hannah's story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah's voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah's voice (italicized) and Clay's thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading. Give this to fans of Gail Giles psychological thrillers. Dobrez, Cindy --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
“Heavy but compelling. . . . Asher’s novel asks us to look at how petty cruelty can deal crushing blows.” —Miami Herald
“Wonderfully realistic in his writing, Asher offers teens and parents alike a great story on an important topic.” —Green Bay Press-Gazette
“It is a brilliant debut that will leave readers feeling a sense of remorse for Hannah, guilt for Clay, and hope for the lasting lesson of the story.” —Bookazine
“Breakneck pace and dizzying emotion.” —School Library Journal
“[Hannah’s] pain is gut-wrenchingly palpable. . . . Asher has created an entrancing character study and a riveting look into the psyche of someone who would make this unfortunate choice. A brilliant and mesmerizing debut from a gifted new author.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review and Editor’s Choice
“Readers won’t be able to pull themselves away.” —Publishers Weekly
“Asher's ability to convey the anguish of someone who was left behind is truly remarkable.” —Book Page
Association of Booksellers for Children’s “Best Books”
American Library Association’s “Best Books for Young Adults” and “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers”
Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Florida Teens Read Award
California Book Award
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Book Sense Pick
International Reading Association’s “Young Adults' Choices” Finalist
Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best Books”
Kansas State Reading Circle’s “Recommended Reading List”
New York Public Library’s “Book for the Teen Age”
16 State Award Master Lists
“Thirteen Reasons Why is a mystery, eulogy, and ceremony. Twenty or thirty times, I snapped the book shut when a sentence, an image, or a line of dialogue was too beautiful and painful. But I, afraid and curious, would always return to this amazing book. I know, in years to come, I will often return to this book.” —Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
“Every once in a while you come across a book that you can’t get out of your mind, one you have to rush back to if you must put it down for some reason. Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those books, and is at the very top of my personal Must-Read list.” —Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Tricks, Identical, Crank, Burned, Impulse, and Glass
“A spectacular first novel. Jay Asher tells his story with such honesty and simplicity that the tragedy feels shatteringly real.” —Gordon Korman, author of Son of the Mob and Jake, Reinvented
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The story revolves around Clay, who finds a box of cassette tapes waiting on his doorstep one day. As he listens to them, he is drawn into the story of Hannah, his crush that committed suicide just a couple weeks earlier. The tapes share the thirteen reasons why she made the choice that she did, one for each person that contributed to that decision.
On the surface, it sounds like a horrifying premise for a read. It is a tough read at times, but no less important. Her point of creating the tapes, to be passed to each person on them, was not to be cruel. It was to make a point... the point that how we act toward one another, whether deliberate or not, makes a difference. Any one of those acts can be small in and of itself, but they can add up to push a person over the edge.
Having seen the series and read the book, I have to say something I never thought I would. As much as I loved the book, I felt that the series really showed Hannah's angst just a bit more clearly. Admittedly, some of that was accomplished through changes in the plot and some details. Ideally, I would suggest indulging in both.