Speed Read:

Hannah committed suicide. Before she did, she recorded 13 tapes detailing the impact 13 people had on her decision. She ensured that those 13 people would hear the tapes. We follow Clay, nice guy, as he listens to them, following Hannah’s map around town as she describes her experiences with each person and place. In this book, there really isn’t that One Moment that changed everything. That One Moment that moved Hannah from discouraged to beaten. It’s a unconscious group effort of unnoticed bullying and “joking” low level sexual aggression. Heart wrenching, desperate writing ensues, with much hysterical crying (just me?).

The Deal:

Guys, this book is not about suicide! (Well, I mean, it is, but actually, it really isn’t. Get with it.) Hannah was new, so she had no backup, no friends whose loyalty had been cemented by years of cookie baking and XBox playing and pool parties. She was a budding teenager, so she was uncertain and insecure about her body. She was pretty and smart, so uncertain and insecure boys wanted her. And she was a part of that terrifying social experiment known to the world as High School, so anything said about this new, pretty girl would be believed and spread like wildfire.

And people think it’s ridiculous that she was tremendously affected by the actions and words of her classmates? Yeah, ok. You just keep on believing that.

Except, no! That’s the whole point! Every single thing you say has meaning. Everything you do has consequences. And we don’t say that enough. It’s one of the major reasons why I study YA Lit and why I decided to start this blog and why I hatehatehate it when adults act like teenagers are naive half-people without the ability to soak up a book in a positive, life-changing way.

How Far Should You Go:

I don’t think it’s appropriate to recommend violent measures to acquire a book that centers around a suicide, but, I mean, you should do whatever you see fit. This book is a Must Read, a Changed My Life sitch, and I would most probably lie to Ghandi in order to get some alone time with it. Basically, if the only way you’re going to be able to read this book is to steal it from a small child…I mean, who am I to tell you not to?

The 13/16 Test:

I happen to know Sixteen already owns this book, but if she didn’t, I would be MediaMailing my copy to her as soon as I get functional for the day. Thirteen should probably wait a year or so.

The Low Down:

13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Published: October 18th, 2007 (but the paperback just came out!)
Classified as: Young Adult