Jay Asher’s novel starts two weeks after its main event – Hannah Baker’s suicide. Through a series of tapes, she speaks to each of the thirteen people who have prompted her decision to give up on life. It’s sad and powerful. It will make you look differently at the troubles our kids go through as they work out the emotional roller coaster(s) of growing up.
The book is amazing on a number of levels. First is that it’s Asher’s debut novel! Like Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, I’m always amazed when a writer nails it right out of the starting gate. This is precisely what Asher has done. Breaking the normal “rules” and setting his own stylistic atmosphere.
Second is that, not only does Asher get into the head of Hannah Baker, a discerning and sensitive teenage girl. But he delves equally well into the emotions of Clay Jensen, the teenage boy who responds so deeply to Hannah’s death.
I’ve read that it is hard to write from the perspective of the opposite sex. I recall my first published short story which was written from a male perspective. Somewhat of a tomboy my whole life (well, okay . . . a huge tomboy), it didn’t seem much of a stretch for me. But I found myself wondering how Asher perfected both the angst of a teenage girl and boy. And done it so masterfully!
If I were the type of person to recommend a book, Thirteen Reasons Why would be one of them. Not to overly influence you, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it when you’re done!