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Thirteen Reasons Whyby Jay Asher
A fellow teen's suicide is certain to rock a school...but imagine the destruction that follows when the dead girl's classmates discover her tape recordings are being delivered one by one to each person she felt had a hand in her decision. If you're looking for a page-turner, you've found it.
Synopses & Reviews
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
"This uncommonly polished debut opens on a riveting scenario: 13 teenagers in a small town have each been designated to listen, in secret, to a box of audiotapes recorded by their classmate Hannah and mailed on the very day she commits suicide. 'I'm about to tell you the story of my life,' she says. 'More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.' Clay, the narrator, receives the tapes a few weeks after the suicide (each listener must send the box to the next, and Hannah has built in a plan to make sure her posthumous directions are followed), and his initial shock turns to horror as he hears the dead girl implicate his friends and acquaintances in various acts of callousness, cruelty or crime. Asher expertly paces the narrative, splicing Hannah's tale with Clay's mounting anxiety and fear. Just what has he done? Readers won't be able to pull themselves away until that question gets answered — no matter that the premise is contrived and the plot details can be implausible. The author gets all the characters right, from the popular girl who wants to insure her status to the boy who rapes an unconscious girl at a party where the liquor flows too freely, and the veneer of authenticity suffices to hide the story's flaws. Asher knows how to entertain an audience; this book will leave readers eager to see what he does next. Ages 13-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The episodic structure is nicely suited to reluctant readers, but the breakneck pace and dizzying emotion are the true source of this novel's irresistible readability at all levels." School Library Journal
"It is a fast read and will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you read on to find out more about the circumstances surrounding Hannah's death." Alan Review
"This provocative tale touches on universal topics of interest, is genuine in its message, and would be a good choice for high school book discussions and booktalks." VOYA
"[C]hallenging and interesting." Children's Literature
"[A] compelling reading." Booklist
About the Author
Jay Asher has worked at an independent bookstore, an outlet bookstore, a chain bookstore, and two public libraries. Jay's first writing award earned him a free fruit smoothie every day for an entire year. More recently, Thirteen Reasons Why won him the Smartwriters.com Write-It-Now Award, and the 2003 SCBWI Work in Progress grant. He was also named one of the "Hot Men in Children's Literature" by the librarian-run website A Fuse 8 Production.
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