Young Adult book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay opens a package delivered to his home, and discovers 7 cassette tapes from a friend who committed suicide a few weeks earlier.  After finding a way to play the “ancient” media, Hannah explains the purpose behind the tapes and the thirteen reasons for her suicide.  She says that the people who contributed to her desire to end her life are the ones who will be listening to the tapes, and if her wishes aren’t carried out privately, a second set of tapes will be released to the media, exposing the guilty parties.  Clay can’t imagine what he could have done to contribute to her death, and is terrified of what he will hear.

This was a fascinating book, from thinking about my daughter going into high school soon, as a teacher, and as a parent.  For every time I’ve wondered “why” when I’ve heard of a suicide, Hannah’s story held a possible explanation.  It wasn’t one thing, or a terrible month…it’s much more than that.  It made me more aware of warning signs, as well as to possibilities for myself to be there for others.  Excellent, just excellent.


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