Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jay Asher
Clay Jensen comes home after school and finds a package filled with cassette tapes on his front porch. When he listens to the first cassette, he hears Hannah Baker, one of his classmates that committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah explains that, after thinking about this for months, there are thirteen reasons—thirteen people—behind why she chose to kill herself. All Clay and the other twelve people have to do is listen to find out why. Clay listens throughout the evening and into the night, following a map to different locations that go along with the reasons in order to truly understand Hannah’s story.
Jay Asher’s novel is a twisty story of suspense and mystery. But always underlying the interesting story is the tragedy that Hannah dies in the end at her own hand. Asher does work to tell his readers that this is not a story of revenge, but merely a story of explaining and understanding. The novel and its treatment of suicide may seem vindictive and glorified to some, yet thought-provoking and intriguing to others. Overall, Thirteen Reasons Why is an interesting read that begs to be discussed and dissected.
*Contains moderate language, moderate sexual content, and mild violence.