This is only the second young adult book I’ve ever read. I picked up Paper Towns and this book at the library. I wanted to do a little research into young adult fiction, thinking it might be the best way to write the ideas floating around in my head. While I enjoyed the story of Paper Towns, I was not a huge fan of the tone of it. I was a little put off, feeling like I was hanging out with some over the top 18 year olds. So when I got to this book I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read it.
In fact, when I was at the library looking through it I thought I’d decided to put it back. As I looked through, the book is at least 50% italics. I thought to myself, I don’t want to read a book of italics! I must have been distracted by the kiddo and just grabbed it anyway.
And boy am I glad I did.
The premise of this book is so interesting, and thought provoking. From Amazon.com:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.
It grabbed me from the first sentence and pulled me in. It didn’t let go until the last word on the last page.
I loved the story, the tension, the suspense, the curiosity of it. There were characters I loved and just wanted to take in my arms and hug and tell them it would all be ok. There were others I wanted to hunt down and find so I could just punch them in the face. (yeah, not very zen of me huh?!) All of the characters were well constructed, they were all flawed, and yet so easy to relate to. You either were that character or knew someone just like them in school.
What I liked most about this book though, was how it got me thinking. (Isn’t that always the case with my favorite books lol). It really made me think about how our actions affect others. I’m pretty sure real life doesn’t not make such a complete and interconnected circle as this book did, but it made me acutely aware of how our lives are weaved together, flowing in and out, the actions of one creating reaction of another, and thereby affecting their actions.
It made me even more aware of my actions when I’m in the world. It made me more aware of my tone of voice, whether I’m smiling at others, reaching out, encouraging people to reach out to me. I’m not in high school anymore, and I think the world really isn’t that far away from high school. People still need to know there is someone who cares, someone they can talk to in the world.
So… if you’re looking for a easy, and thoroughly enjoyable read (with a little lesson to boot), I highly recommend Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.