Friday, December 10, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

genre: young adult

When Clay gets a random package of cassette tapes in the mail, he has no idea that the contents will take him to the brink of serious emotional trauma. The tapes are from Hannah, a girl from school, who only a few weeks before had taken a bunch of pills and committed suicide. The tapes, created for specific people at school to pass to each other, are the reasons WHY. Why she gave up hope and why she couldn't find a way out.

Oh, it's painful. As painful as I'd imagined when I was first told about this book. I didn't WANT to read about suicide so I put it off - but when I finally picked it up, I read it in a day. I had to know. Who could have helped her? How does a person get to that point? It's so eerie, this malicious bullying that can happen in whispers and in hidden corners, but that can absolutely turn a person inside out.

And what the book is best at showing you is that sometimes, it might not look like "bullying." Sometimes our actions just have repercussions that we cannot even imagine and when something might seem like a "joke" or when someone else gets caught in the crossfire of our own problems with people, the results can be disastrous to a fragile adolescent sense of self worth.

I need my daughter to read this when she gets a little older, like fourteen. I want her to read it to see how her actions can affect others and what it might look like if someone she knows (or if she HERSELF) is getting to such a low point and how to look for help. Not that Hannah is perfect - she makes some pretty dumb choices - but rumors can do crazy things to your mind when there is no way to dig yourself out from under them. I just wanted to reach in the book and hug her and tell her that she wasn't really alone - and I loved the narrative style of the book that shows so clearly how two people can see the exact same things so differently.

I have a feeling that this book will stick in my brain.

book 35 for the Young Adult 2010 challenge


Melissa said...

It does stick in your brain; I read it three years ago, and I still think about it and recommend it out. It's a powerful, though quite painful, story. I'm glad you finally read it.

Biblibio said...

I reread this yesterday afternoon for the third time. Each time, I'm deeply affected by the book, by certain scenes, certain words, and most of all... how much it affects me. I spent several hours following the reread thinking over every aspect of the book again... and again... and again.

I have a feeling you're right. This book is one of those that sticks.

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