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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Or maybe I wanted someone to point a finger at me and say, "Hannah. Are you thinking about killing yourself? Please don't do that, Hannah. Please?" But deep down, the truth was that the only person saying that was me. Deep down, those were my words.

Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why. New York: Penguin, 2007.

Hannah Baker's suicide is still haunting Clay Jensen. Was there something he could have done? Were there signs he could have caught? While desperately trying to assure himself of his innocence, he receives a box of cassette tapes. From Hannah. Sent to the thirteen people who led her to commit suicide. Unable to listen to the horrifying story, and unable not to, Clay tortures himself with one question: Is he the reason the girl he loved killed herself?

One of the most chilling stories I've ever read. This is the kind of story that could change a teen's perspective on life. I think this should be required reading in all schools. It points out the things to watch out for, and things that no human being should ever do to another, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time.

What's amazing is that you can watch the way a series of small incidents can lead someone who is beautiful and talented to believe she has no other options. Was Hannah looking for excuses to kill herself? Yes. But could something have been done about it? Yes. This is the perfect opportunity to teens to evaluate the way they treat people.

Besides that, it's simply brilliant writing. Jay Asher goes back and forth between Hannah and Clay just enough to keep us interested in both stories. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire time. I could not put this book down for a second. I ate a bag of chips for a meal because I didn't want to stop reading long enough to make a sandwich. It was absolutely heartbreaking with characters who were so vivid that I sometimes talk about them like they were real people.

This was quite honestly the best novel I have read in quite some time. Next time you want to read a book in one sitting, pick up this one. Just have some tissues ready. And a ready-to-eat meal, if you don't feel like chips.

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