Yesterday I drove 20+ minutes, two towns over to the closest Barnes and Noble to stock THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher.
And now I give you thirteen reason's why you must do the same:
1) The Hook. This is what got me. Thirteen Reason's Why features Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide. Before her death she recorded her story on thirteen (sides) of casette tapes. Each side represents a different person who influenced her life (and death.) She mails them to the first person on "the list", and each person much listen to the tapes and then send them to the next person.
2) The mystery. Our main character doesn't know what he did or why he deserves to be on the list. The others did cruel things. All he did was crush on her from afar and eventually kiss her. How does that contribute to suicide? And as the tapes get closer to his time, he's getting scared of what he'll discover.
3) The Voice. Jay is a wonderful story teller-- the MC's male voice rings true but so does Hannah's, on her tapes.
4) The reality. Seriously. He NAILS it. This isn't some "woe is me, I've been abused so now I'm suicidal" thing. Its real. It's gritty. It helps you undestand why young people might turn to suicide.
5) The setting. As Clay listens to the tapes, he travels the town and stands in the very places of the events. It's ghostly and haunting, to be standing there and listening to Hannah tell her story, even though she's dead.
6) You'll feel invested. Even though you know that the only way the tapes exist is because Hannah killed herself, you find yourself racing towards the end as if somehow, it won't happen.
7) The idea. Like all novelists, Jay got his idea from something seemingly random. He was at a museum listening to one of those "narrator" things, and felt haunted by the voice of someone who didnt' exist. So sparked the idea.
8) Jay 'struggled". He didnt get an agent in two seconds and a book deal in three. As I recall he was posting on verla's blue boards about how he was seriously getting discouraged-- only to post soon after with some majorly good news.
9) It holds a message but it isn't preachy. The book shows us that how we treat eachother-- even when it seems like it doesn't-- matters.
10) The cover is amazing.
11) Its a debut novel, and I LOVE discovering new treasures.... I predict Jay has a big future.
12) Its the kind of book that lingers even after you're done reading.
13) I've seen the question asked: What book do you wish you could take credit for? And now I know the answer: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is it.