Book Four: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher

Oh man, I am so far behind with writing about what I've been reading, I hardly remember what these books are about anymore. I do know that I read this one super fast, that it was compelling, but it also left a bad taste in my mouth. The idea is that Clay, the narrator, gets a package in the mail that contains cassette tapes from a girl from his school, Hannah, who killed herself a few weeks ago. The tapes are addressed to the 13 people she feels had a hand in her deciding to commit suicide. The story unfolds as Clay listens to the tapes, learns about how all these people are to blame in Hannah's death, and waits to hear his story (not sure how he could be at fault, since he feels he really liked Hannah and did nothing wrong). You can see where this could get a little icky.

I suppose it's an effective book in that its target YA audience might benefit from the message: that you should be aware of how your offhanded treatment of classmates might hurt them more than you can imagine. But, on the other hand, Hannah is not entirely innocent in this story. That's where the ickiness comes in. I know some YA fiction can be pretty simplistic, but I hate to think that things have to dumbed down that much to make an impact on younger readers. I'm sure teenagers are probably smarter than we think they are and can handle some unpleasant things. Right? Sure.


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