Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen 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.
If there was ever a book to skip reading and buy the audio, this would be the book.
This book is hard-hitting. I don’t want to say too much about it, because it’s such a journey of discovery that you’re part of as the reader. Ultimately, this is a book I’d highly recommend. It goes through the complexities of the consequences of each of our actions. How something as simple as staying quiet or going along with the crowd can be devastating for the one person who’s silently pleading that someone in the crowd is different.
Besides highlighting (in a very memorable, but non-teachy way) the signs you can look for in case someone close to you is in trouble, it also shows that suicide is really only the blame of the one who commits it. When it comes down to it, they are the only ones who could have stopped themselves, and looking for blame elsewhere just adds hurt upon hurt.
I can see how this book could have life-changing effects on people, both who might be suffering from depression themselves, or who might know someone who is. It’s a heavy subject, yes, but it’s well worth the read, I think. I highly recommend it.
For a peek at the impact it has made, check out the 13RW project.