Th1rteen R3asons Why, by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: CD Audiobook CoverFinished audio 6-30-11, rating 4/5, YA, pub. 2007

Unabridged audio 6 hours, 25 minutes.  Read by Joel Johnstone and Debra Wiseman

High School good guy, Clay, received a box of cassette tapes.  On these tapes was the voice of Hannah Baker who had just recently committed suicide and she was telling the 13 people who had a hand in her decision her reasons why.  Clay was horrified that this girl, who he’d had a crush on for years could somehow think he’d had a hand in ruining her life and he spent the rest of the day and night listening and visiting the places she talked about, forever changing the way he looked at his classmates and himself.

This book has such a great premise and the story goes back and forth between Clay’s thoughts and Hannah’s words and it is really powerful.  I listened to the audio and I think it was the perfect way to experience this book.  The book made me think about how we don’t know what effect our actions, big or small, might have on someone else.  A kind word might be something that a person thinks about for days or changes the way she views herself and it was nice to be reminded of that.

I think the topic of teen suicide is important and I’m glad that this book has become so popular.  Teens need to know how suicide may affect those left behind and they need to know that people are there for you even when don’t notice right away. I think this is a must read for teens.

I don’t read a lot of YA.  No particular reason, maybe I’m a little too far removed from it.  But everything I read about this one intrigued me so I finally checked it out and was impressed.  My few problems with the book stemmed from how far removed I am, I think.  I do remember my teen years, when everything was SO IMPORTANT and NOTHING COULD WAIT.  Being a teen is no picnic, but neither is it so hard that some things cannot be overlooked as trivial.  Hannah listed 13 people on her tapes, but a few of the middle stories left me feeling like Hannah needed to get a grip.  But that’s coming from a 39 year woman, so take that for what it’s worth.  Even with that I’d still recommend this book.

I checked this audio out of the library.