Published October 2007 by Razorbill
Narrated by Debra Wiseman & Joel Johnstone | Listening Library
304 pages | 6:24:00 duration
website | twitter | facebook | book website
Genre: Contemporary | Big Issue
Source: Purchased Hardcopy | Audio from Library
Rating: Loved | Audio Loved
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. (Source: Goodreads)
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY has been challenged on the basis that it is inappropriate for its age group and for content discussing “drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide.” (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
I purchased this book over three years ago. The same year my town experienced three teen suicides. I knew it was a book I needed to read, a voice I needed to hear and a book I needed to get on our library’s shelves. But I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up. I don’t know how many of you peruse your shelves looking for the perfect suicide book to read, but that isn’t me. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up. But I try to read as many challenged books as possible every year and this one stood out as a must.
Luckily, my library had the audiobook and it was the perfect way to walk with Hannah as she tells her story. The story that ultimately leads to her suicide. It is a story everyone should hear. Some of the things that happen to Hannah seem so ordinary or even typical, but their cumulative effect cripples her. It vividly shows how something meant as a joke or simply not thinking about the impact on the other person can have a dramatic snowball effect. And before long, she feels like she can’t even trust the good things.
DEBRA WISEMAN was amazing. Her voice was so haunting. Not because it was creepy or ghostly, but because it was totally calculated and rational. By the time Hannah made the tapes, the debate was over. She had already looked over and over the events of her life and thought long about her solution. So that coolness just slightly laced with hurt made you feel her resolution that enough is enough. And the fact that you were listening to the tapes just as Clay would was powerful. JOEL JOHNSTONE played Clay perfectly. He is the all-American good kid. He liked Hannah from a far and is desperately scared to find out his role in her suicide. With each event, his heart aches for her. You can feel his desperation and desire to bridge the void, to make that connection, to not let Hannah push him away and punish every offender on the tapes.
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY reminded me that the little things do matter. Trust your instinct. If you think something is wrong, there probably is. Don’t let people drift farther away into isolation. Be the person that chases them down the hall to show you care.