I mentioned Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher on my Tuesday Teaser and just finished it last night. Man! This was the most intense, most emotionally raw reading experience I have had in a long time!
The premise is this: a boy comes home from school to find a package that has been mailed to him. In the package are cassette tapes. He begins to play one and realizes that they were recorded by a girl in his school who had committed suicide two weeks earlier. She says she is going to explain why she killed herself over the course of the tapes and that each listener is to forward the tapes on to the next person mentioned in the tapes. Or else the tapes will be made public.
Whew! So that's quite a set up right there.
I heard about this book from an article in the NY Times ages ago, bought it some time back, and finally picked it up off the shelf this week. It was one of those books that I kept putting down, not because it was bad, but because it was so strong I needed some time to recuperate between chapters.
I was incredibly impressed by how well (I thought) the author caught the mix of rational and irrational that goes into this teenage girl's thinking as she slips out of contact and into depression. It's no easy read, that's for sure, but a compelling one, and an excellent book for adults to read as well as teens, especially adults who work with youth.
Not many books have suicide hotline numbers in the bookflap, but I think the author, Jay Asher, has done an incredible service by writing this book.