Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
I read this book because it got my 17-year-old son hooked on reading again. Before Hannah commits suicide, she creates a series of audiotapes explaining to 13 different people how they contributed to her decision...with instructions that they pass the tapes along to next person on the list.
The book alternates between Hannah's voice, explaining her "13 reasons why," and the perspective of Clay, one of the people on the list. I found this constant going back and forth to be a little distracting.
Many people LOVE this book, but I was not as taken with it. Toward the end of the book I actually started scanning it...not a good sign! Some people have said that it glamorizes suicide, and I can see their point.
It does shed some light on the plight of a teenage girl who is receiving unwanted attention from boys and is often objectified and not treated with respect. It also shows how desperately teenagers need real friendship and love (she was lacking both).
Typical of many young adult novels, parents hardly ever appeared or were mentioned in the book...which I thought seemed strange. What part did Hannah's parents play in her life? Did she leave a suicide note for them? As a parent myself, I couldn't help but note this strange lack of adult figures.
Some of her "reasons" seemed inconsequential, and in fact they made me think of all the people in the world who endure far, far worse than what Hannah had...yet they endure and survive.
From what I know about suicide, it usually happens because the person is deeply depressed...yet the book does not touch on Hannah's depression. I felt that her relationships with many of the thirteen, including the main character, were not fleshed out.
So I was disappointed. I'm glad it got my son reading again, but it wasn't really my cup of tea.