Jay Asher was born born in Arcadia, California in 1975 and has worked at an independent bookstore, an outlet bookstore, a chain bookstore, and two public libraries. He hopes, someday, to work for a used bookstore. When he is not writing, he plays guitar and goes camping.
He has published two books to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, a 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel, and The Future of Us, co written by Carolyn Mackler. He has written several picture books and middle school humor novels. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review.
"You can't ▇ the future. You can't ▶▶ the past. The only way to learn the secret is to press ▶
Thirteen Reasons Why takes place in the fictional town of Crestmont, California within some point of the earlier 2000's. The story revolves around multiple places around Crestmont, the reader is provided with the same map as the characters recieved within the novel.
Maybe it's not a red star on her map, but it should have been. It's a red star to me."
Hannah Baker, the girl who the novel revolves around. Hannah sent out 7 cassette tapes, sharing 13 stories. Using them as a form of chain mail. After listening to them she requires the receiver to pass on the tapes to the next person featured on them. Each tape features at least one of the characters that led Hannah to commit suicide.
The story is told in the eyes of Clay, one of the people featured on Hannah's tapes. He has a clean reputation and he's certainly not a risk-taker. He prioritizes schoolwork over parties, unlike a lot of the other characters within the novel. Alongside learning about Hannah through her tapes, Clay shares what he knows about her throughout the book, including that he had a crush on her.
Characters besides Clay that received the tapes include; Justin Foley, Alex Standall, Jessica Davis, Tyler Down, Cortney Crimson, Marcus Cooley, Zach Dempsey, Ryan Shaver, Jenny Kurtz, and Bryce Walker.
And then there's Tony
Every single event documented here may never have happened had you, Alex, not written my name on that list. It's that simple"
The story opens up with Clay Jensen. He 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 one of his classmates, and crush, the one who had 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, as well as 11 other people. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.
"And you, lucky number thirteen, you can take the tapes straight to hell. Depending on your religion, maybe I’ll see you there."
What I Like
I like how Asher chose different narrators and how the novel isn't just Hannah's tapes, he takes breaks showing where Clay pauses the tapes when things around him are going on.
What I Dislike
I'm not a fan of Asher's method of changing between Hannah and Clay, the narrators. Hannah's tapes may be italicized but it's visually confusing when the text switches between being italicized and normal text.
What I Liked
I liked how the story brings awareness of how serious suicide is and how high school can be, how not only is school work stressful but your peers can be incredibly judgmental. It can easily become enough to drive someone to suicide.
What I Disliked
I wish there was more information on Hannah. Her tapes and a little bit of information from Clay doesn't give her character enough credit for a novel that revolves around her.
MorE On Th1rtEEn resons why