2007 ****1/2 288 pages
There are few books out there that I honestly could not put down. Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why is one of those books. It's suspenseful and addictive; I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. A girl has committed suicide. Before she died, though, she recorded 13 stories onto cassette tape and arranged for them to be passed around after her death. That means, the people around her who made her feel so terribly about herself would learn the truth and depth of their actions. The book spoke to me on a deeply personal level. After all, my own novel, Simply Existing, exists in the same milieu. It may be tough for some people to read, but the purpose of the work is not to upset, it's to open people's eyes to their actions, to show them how deeply their actions can affect others, and for that, I applaud Jay Asher. You never really know what's going on inside someone's head. Never pay attention to rumors. Give everyone an honest chance, and treat everyone with respect.