THIRTEEN REASONS WHY focuses on the set of audiotapes made by a girl named Hannah Baker right before she killed herself. There are thirteen sides to the tapes recorded. And they’re going to be heard by thirteen people. Thirteen of the reasons why Hannah ended her life.

This story is not just Hannah’s; it is also Clay’s. Clay had a crush on Hannah for ages, watching her from afar (but not in a creepy way). And he’s one of the thirteen people to receive the tapes. This book takes place mostly on the night that Clay wanders around town, visiting the places mentioned in Hannah’s tapes, listening to Hannah’s voice and trying to deal with what has happened. Trying to figure out why he’s received these tapes, why one of the thirteen reasons belongs to him when all he ever did was try to connect with Hannah.

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is a powerful debut from a talented new voice in YA literature. This dual narrative brings to light the reasons for Hannah’s death, lets readers know her life, but also lets us get to know Clay, who is an important part of Hannah’s story. This is different from most books in that the end of the story is the first thing we know.  We know it will never turn out any differently. The reader knows from the start that Hannah is dead, but still we go on the agonizing journey to finding out why, along with Clay. To finding out what might have been different. This shows so well the pain of suicide for those left behind–what could we have done? Should we have seen?–and goes even further, as some of those people will actually get concrete answers to how they could have saved Hannah, and will have to live with it forever. This painfully honest story will stay in the minds of readers long after the final page. Jay Asher’s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story, and readers will eagerly await whatever he writes next.

Five Stars

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