Monday, March 10, 2014

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

High school student Hannah Baker has committed suicide, and protagonist Clay is trying to discover why via thirteen cassette tapes Hannah recorded prior to her death.  Each tape incriminates another person at the school, explaining how that person played a part in Hannah’s suicide.  Hannah makes it clear from the first tape that if you received the tapes, it means there is one about you—and Clay has no idea why he received them. Inspired by museum audio-tours, one unique feature of the novel is the inclusion of a map that goes along with the tapes, marking the locations where Hannah’s stories occurred.  Another unique and impressive component is the structure of the novel: Hannah and Clay’s point of views are woven together throughout the storyline, so that the reader has access to Clay’s immediate reactions after hearing Hannah’s stories.  Exploring themes of sexual abuse, bullying, and teen relationships, this novel is recommended for high school students, specifically females as Hannah focuses on many painful situations that young women may face.--Mackenzie Magee

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

Mackenzie Magee is a first year ELA teacher at Passages Academy-Belmont. She grew up in Portland, Oregon and enjoys writing, running, and reading. Her favorite books include The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham.

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