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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
You know it was a good book when you can remember the month you read it, the band you were listening to when you read it, and where you were when you read it. Thirteen Reasons Why was that book for me.
I was thirteen, the month was July, I was listening to Pretty. Odd. by Panic! At the Disco, and I was at the ice rink where I figure skate. But I actually began reading this exceptional novel in the bookstore, where I was so touched but the story that I begged my dad to advance my allowance to pay for it. I began to read it immediately.
The basic premise behind Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is this:
Hannah Baker killed herself by taking too many pills... on purpose. But before her death, she made tapes to tell people all the reasons why she killed herself, and Clay Jensen is one of the reasons. Clay and Hannah didn't even know each other very well. So a curious Clay listens to all thirteen stories that explain why she is dead, and all night Clay wanders his small town, and what he's told will change his whole perspective on life forever.
I was captivated by the plot, which was one that I'd never heard before, even though I've read so many books in my lifetime. I was once the one that felt neglected and, frankly, almost suicidal. This book made me feel like I wasn't alone, even though Hannah was fictional. Clay reminded me of a caring friend, and the story was a convoluted maze of problems and differences of opinions that led to the fateful end of a misunderstood character, and the changed life of another.
In truth, while this wasn't a challenging or overwhelmingly long book, but it hooked me emotionally from the first chapter, and the characters were so real that I could picture them in my head doing all these things. I could hear Hannah's voice on the tapes, with the static of a recorder in the background, and I could picture Clay sitting in at the diner drinking a milkshake while the tapes played.
My final recollection of this story will be an excerpt from the beginning of the book, and hopefully, I'll hook you in as much as it did me.
“Sir?” she repeats. “How soon do you want it to get there?”
I rub my two fingers, hard, over my left eyebrow. The throbbing has become intense. “It doesn't matter,” I say.
The clerk takes the package. The same shoebox that sat on my porch less than twenty-four hours ago; rewrapped in a brown paper bag, sealed with clear packing tape, exactly as I had received it. But now addressed with a new name. The next name on Hannah Baker's list.
“Baker's dozen,” I mumble. Then I feel disgusted for even noticing.