13 Reasons Why …

20 Oct

I just finished another one of the Teens Read books: Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s a book about a kid named Clay, who comes home to find a box of cassette tapes on his doorstep. As he begins to listen to the tapes, he hears the voice of Hannah Baker, a classmate who recently committed suicide. The tapes are her lengthy suicide notes, left behind to explain to 13 people how they may have helped to lead her to suicide. A heavy topic, to be sure, but one I feel all teenagers should read. Here are seven reasons why I feel this way:

1. Lots of teens contemplate suicide. This book doesn’t glamorize it; it makes it seem real, final, and permanent. I think that’s important for kids to see.
2. Teenagers’ lives are full of drama, most of it self-created. This book shows what happens when you let that drama become your life.
3. Everyone has a friend who needs help. How many of us reach out to that friend, and how many of us ignore the cry for help? This book explores what happens when you do both.
4. In high school, reputations are made and broken every day. This book explores the repercussions of our actions, and how what we do can affect someone else deeply.
5. The book is well-written; teens need to read something that is both compelling and smart.
6. Despite the length of the book (304 pages), I read it in one day. Teenagers, with their short attention spans, need a book that won’t let go.
7. Kids need to be kinder to one another; maybe, just maybe, this book will show them thirteen reasons why.


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