Jay Asher‘s YA novel Thirteen Reasons Why, which comes out in paperback tomorrow, has grown into a major phenomenon over the last four years. In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly we caught up with the author and got the story behind the book that some readers credit with changing — and even saving — their lives. You can read the story below.
Jay Asher had dreaded this moment. It was his first book signing, and one woman had been hanging back, waiting for the crowd to thin. Finally, she walked up to the table. Her 14-year-old son had taken his own life a few years earlier, and she’d read Asher’s book. “My heart just stopped,” recalls the author, 35. “I was thinking, ‘Here we go. Here’s where somebody’s going to totally chew me out.’ ”
Asher’s YA novel Thirteen Reasons Why is a great read that happens to be about teen suicide. It’s suspenseful and addictive and more entertaining than people might expect — or, Asher feared, might want. The book has an irresistible hook: High school junior Clay Jensen comes home from school one day and finds a box containing seven cassettes. When he pops in the first, he hears the voice of a classmate, Hannah Baker, who recently killed herself. “I’m about to tell you…why my life ended,” she says calmly. “And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.” Hannah then tells the whole sad story, her voice alternating with Clay’s thoughts as he learns about the bullying and casual cruelty that slowly drove her over the edge. READ FULL STORY