Here's the cover for the hardcover (the upcoming paperback will have a slightly altered look):
And here's the short synopsis:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 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.
So...if you can't tell, this is not exactly a "light-hearted" book. Which--I'll confess--is why I actually waited a really long time to read it. I'd seen it. I knew about it. But I avoided it. NOT because I hadn't heard amazing things. But because, as those of you who read my Dear Teen Me post know, I have kind of a hard time with anything about suicide. Especially teen suicide. So I knew this book would be an especially tough read.
BUT...I kept hearing amazing thing upon amazing thing and finally realized: it's time. So I read it. And let me tell you, this book is worth every tear I cried while reading it.
Yes, it totally broke me--but in such a powerful way. It's the kind of book that stays with you, that makes you think about it long after you've finished the last page. I'm STILL thinking about it. And I will continue to think about it until I feel the need to reread it again (which has already happened once--and yes, I cried just as hard the second time).
But it's not just powerful and haunting. It's also incredibly well written. I tend to find most Contemporary novels a bit more slow than other books. But THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is almost impossible to put it down. I read it in one sitting, stopping only when I was crying too hard to read the words (which was a lot). And while the book didn't end the way I wished it would end--it ended the way it needed to end. It told Hannah's story exactly the way it should. With brutal, elegant, heart-breaking honesty.
Since it's been out for a while, I'm sure many of you have read it already. If you haven't--you need to. It's coming out in paperback soon, and in the not-so-distant future it will also be a movie (can't WAIT. Even though I'm sure I'll need a Costco-sized box of tissues to get through it).
And I'll give you another reason to read (or reread this book): Jay Asher.
I've met a LOT of writers, and been in touch with MANY more. And while they're all awesome and supportive and hilarious in their own way--there are few who go as far out of their way as Jay. In fact, he's taking time out of his VERY busy schedule today--maybe even as you read this--to have a quick cup of coffee with his very grateful agent-in-law, who will be driving through his town on her way to the Big Sur Writer's Workshop. I can't wait.
While I'm there, I'll be having him sign a copy of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY to give away to one of you. Because whether you own it, covet it, or hadn't heard of it until this post, I think you should have a chance at a signed copy. It's a very special book.
To enter: simply follow my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, March 12th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, March 13th. International entries welcome.
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Jessica Kirby adores Across the Universe