I chose this next book because of its personal significance to me and the astounding message of the book.
A few months ago, a 6th grader at my son's school committed suicide. This young boy came from an affluent family, had successful parents, and appeared to "have it all." The death of this boy who should have had many, many years ahead of him and a life filled with possibilities, rocked our small North Carolina town. It led me to question how well I know what's going on in my children's minds. How well do I really know them?
When I won a Giveaway for a free signed copy of Jay Asher's THIRTEEN REASONS WHY shortly after this tragedy struck my area, I knew I needed to read this book. If for nothing else but to see what could possibly go through a child's mind to make them want to commit suicide. Even though this is a work of fiction, Mr. Asher opened a gateway of thinking and analyzing for every teen that reads this book. Even for every parent that reads this book. How well do you know what's going on in your child's life?
THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is a novel about a teenage girl who commits suicide, and we learn about the 13 reasons why she chose to do it in these cassette tapes she leaves behind to the people who "influenced" her decision. The receiver is supposed to listen to the tape, follow the map of her life, and then pass the tapes on to the next person on the list. The story is told through the eyes of the MC, Clay, who is one of the recipients of the cassette tapes. It's a brilliant way to tell a story. Truly. The creative effort to capture this girl's story on the cassette tape is so unique. And we as the reader are learning right along with Clay as he listens and processes the reasons Hannah Baker committed suicide.
This book was a page-turner for me. Mostly because I kept waiting for that moment—the one that would make it perfectly clear why Hannah Baker decided to kill herself. But that moment never came. At first, I thought her reasons were shallow, but then I realized something. It is never about one significant event or one defining moment, but rather, it's a culmination of things that make a person feel as if they have no way out. It's so sad to think about that, and in the story, it was heart-wrenching to know that this vibrant, once-happy girl could spiral so far down as to feel that she had no other option but to kill herself.
I know you're probably thinking this sounds like a depressing read. And in some ways, maybe it is. But it's also enlightening. And for a teen, I think it can maybe even change the way they view others around them, especially those that may be considered an "outcast" or those who are experiencing challenges.
For my review, I give this novel 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who likes YA Contemporary novels that deal with heavy issues. But warning: Some of the content may not be appropriate for young teens or those adults who like super clean reads.
And on a lighter note...
It's time for cookies!
These scrum-dilly-umptious cookies are called Earthquake Cookies. I've made these before and they're super easy to make and taste delicious! Just make sure you have a box of Devil's Food cake mix on hand. You can find the recipe HERE.
Happy Baking and Reading!