Summer Reader: Thirteen Reasons Why

I can think of a lot of words to describe this book:  haunting, twisted, chilling, gut-wrenching, beautiful.

One of these things is not like the other.

Let me start off by saying that Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a book you need to set aside a full day to read. Why? Because it will absolutely consume your emotions and thoughts until you finish it.

Here's some background so you actually have some idea of what I'm talking about:

The main character, Hannah Baker, commits suicide before the book even starts. When the school's "good boy" Clay Jensen discovers a package filled with cassette tapes on his front doorstep, he is startled by hearing Hannah's voice on the tapes. Hannah explains that a list of people all played a rather large role in the story of her suicide, and the tapes must be passed down through the list of people to avoid getting their dark deeds released to the town: their actions that convinced Hannah it was time to end her life. Throughout seven tapes she tells the story of the thirteen people on the list. How they hurt her, how it affected her or how selfishness and ignorance can never goes unnoticed.

It's rumored that Logan Lerman will be playing Clay Jensen and Selena Gomez will be playing Hannah Baker in the movie version of this story. Normally, I hate picturing actors as I read. I feel like it takes something away from the story for me. But in this case, it only made it better for me. Because it was better not to pretend like this could be any sort of real. Also, they're both absolutely perfect for their respective characters. LOVE YOU, SELENA.

The chilling part of this book is, it's hard not to relate to Hannah Baker. Which sounds like a terrible thing to say. She creeps into your memories somehow, reminding you of every time someone started a rumor about you- and every time someone believed it. It reminds you of every boy who didn't ask you to slow dance in middle school, or every high school boy who made fun of you before you discovered make-up. It reminds you of every bad high school party you went to just to look cool, even though you didn't really want to go. But worst of all, it reminds you of how you may have treated other people.

This book, after all of the dark, twisted, haunting memories it pulls out of you, bring something beautiful to its readers by the end:  A chance to change. To be aware of how you treat people and be aware of someone who's extending a hand to help. I like that this book reminds you that the simplest things (like words) can be a weapon and the simplest things (like listening) can heal.

I once read a quote (probably on Tumblr, Forgive Me!!!) that read, "Be kind, everyone you meet is facing a hard battle." I never knew who this applied to:  rape victims? anorexia? abusive parents? I didn't know- my mind immediately went to like, a thousand Law and Order: Special Victims Unit scenarios. But it says it right there in the quote:  it applies to everyone.

Hannah Baker was no different than the girl who sat next to you in 11th grade English class. She's no different than the girl who crossed the street a 10 a.m. this morning to buy a bagel. She was a normal girl who got knocked down too many times to get up one more. A feeling we've had - some, more often than we'd like to admit to ourselves. Listening to someone can change someone's life- in this case, may even keep someone's life, even if it was just a fictional character. It's gut-wrenching to think that your actions toward someone could make or break that person.

Bottom line is, this books destroys you. And while this book should definitely be on your reading list this summer, you probably shouldn't bring it to the beach or anywhere where anyone around you is smiling.

I need to go eat some ice cream and literally hug everyone I come into contact with bye.

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