If you’re looking for a novel that will grip you in a new way, then you should pick up Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Published in 2007, the novel tells the story of Hannah Baker, only, she’s not your ordinary main character because Hannah Baker is already dead, having committed suicide a few weeks before the novel takes place. Even though Hannah is technically dead, she is very much alive throughout the novel, by way of cassette tapes that she recorded prior to committing suicide. Those tapes, containing the thirteen reasons why she chose to kill herself are mailed to students from her school – ones that each make up a reason. The other main character is Clay Jensen. The story takes place entirely in one night, while Clay listens to the tapes and relives the events with Hannah, some that he had known about, but most that he had not, while desperately trying to figure out where he fits in, and who already knows about him.
Although many of Hannah’s reasons seem to be minute and not reason why someone would choose to end their own life, you can feel the events and reasons adding up in her head and you witness her point of no return. Told in a dual narration between Hannah’s tapes and Clay’s present – his reaction to the tapes and the journey he goes on – it is definitely unique. Hannah and Clay’s stories are going on simultaneously, and the only way to determine who is narrating is by the typeface: if it’s italic or normal.
This is really a book that any parent, teacher or librarian should read. Also, any teenager who is having a hard time in school, or is thinking about committing suicide, because I feel like this book can really help save people. It can help those in pain to realize that their thoughts aren’t normal, and that they need to reach out for help before it is too late. Teenage suicide is preventable.