TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY (you should read this book)

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Teenage suicide.

It’s a loaded topic, isn’t it? According to Statistic Brain, 4,600 youth suicides are reported annually in the US. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 10-24. The number of teens who try to commit is astronomically high. But why?

Jay Asher’s devastatingly sad novel aims to answer the question of what motivates a teenager to take their own life. Was it from a horrible home life? Perhaps instead it from constant ostracizing and bullying? Could it be a combination of both?

The story follows Clay Jensen, a boy who hardly knew the late Hannah Baker. But when he finds a package on his front step and opens it, there’s no escaping from her past. Inside the box is a set of 13 cassettes–each one addressing every person responsible for her death. The rules are simple: you listen, and then pass them on to the next person on the list. The last person, according to Hannah, “can take the tapes straight to hell”.

Hearing a dead girl’s voice on a tape may seem eerie, and that’s because it is. She encloses a map in which the listeners may follow to get a visual of each of the thirteen stories. The story is powerful and gripping. Readers are driven with curiosity to discover why Hannah had taken her own life.

Clay is taken on Hannah’s journey narrated by her voice that transforms from spiteful to happy to absolutely heartbroken in the course of the tapes as she remembers her own life. Readers sob alongside Hannah as we see what her life came to. You’ll fall in love with her character and wish that you could resurrect her; that’s what makes the story so awfully tragic.

Each chapter is a cassette; Hannah’s words are italicized while Clay’s thoughts and actions are overlapping and intertwining with her story. He seems shaken and overwhelmed when he begins to listen, but begins to understand and emphasize with her near the end of the book. To me, it took a lot of courage to do what he did. He wasn’t afraid to find out what he did to be partly responsible for her death and he found out more about a girl he barely knew.

There’s nothing happy about this book. Trust me. If you’re looking for a smiles and sunshine story, I suggest perhaps a Dr. Seuss childrens’ story. This tale isn’t supposed to make the readers feel warm and fuzzy. It’s supposed to make you cry. It’s supposed to make you evaluate life and how you treat people. It’s supposed to make you take action and take a walk in someone else’s shoes for a day. It’s supposed to make you think.

Jay Asher creates such wonderful characters and writes with elegance, tackling such a difficult topic. It’s a book I 100% recommend for all teenagers, whether they’ve ever considered suicide or not. I was reading the reviews and a lot of anonymous sources confessed that this book saved their life. Others said it made them contemplate their actions towards others.

This book changed my life and I definitely believe it will change other teenagers’ as well.

“I’m listening to someone give up. Someone I knew. Someone I liked. I’m listening but I’m still too late.”
-Clay Jensen.

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3 thoughts on “TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY (you should read this book)

  1. Abbey – Suicide is tragic enough subject that most of us don’t want to talk about it. Suicide is like Russian roulette for teenagers especially when they think, “I’ll show them”. Thank you for your courage for bringing this subject up.
    Granpa

  2. Abbey, Thank you for a very interesting and scary article. I knew suicides were happening more and more but not to the extent you noted. Do you think what you read would be applicable to adults. I know a young man whose girl friend has mental illness. She is in and out of the hospital. When she is out she is unpredictable. The lastest situation involved her cutting herself. He was VERY down whenI last talked with him. I don’t know what to say or how to help him. If you think it is good for me to read I will try to get it at the library. There seems to be alot of very lonely and disenfranchised people. Thank you for making people aware of a very sad situation. Hopefully someone will read this book and be able to notice and respond to a cry for help. What I appreciate the most about your writing is you cover a variety of topics. Keep writing you reach many people and make them think. Making someone think is a wonderful gift to them. I love you, Grandma Jeanne

    ________________________________

  3. Abbey, I’m sure you heard/read about the young girl in Florida, who recently committed suicide after being bullied. When I read the story in the newpaper, I immediately thought about this blog you had written.
    I only hope that all people will read this. It’s a wonderful teaching tool.

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