Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Long Shelf Life of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Today's New York Times (click here to read article) offered an inquest into the YA debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a story about a teenager's suicide that "has become a stealthy hit with surprising staying power" amid the vampires, dragons, and dystopian futuristic societies that dominate young adult reading lists.

Published in October 2007, the book is a transcription of audiotapes made by a 16-year-old girl before she commits suicide--interspersed with reactions by friends after her death. Asher, who has worked as a children's librarian and bookseller, said he was inspired to use the format after listening to an audio tour of an exhibition about King Tut in Las Vegas, Nev.

One reason for the book's popularity: a series of YouTube videos created as part of an ad campaign and featuring the voice of Olivia Thirlby, who played the best friend of the title character in Juno. While a cassette player rolls, Thirlby's voice reads the tapes made by the protagonist of Thirteen Reasons Why.

There's that. There's also the fact that it's very well written and unlike anything else - actually dealing with suicide from the perspective of the person who has committed suicide.

Apparently it re-entered the chapter-book best-seller list in November at No. 10. And will rise to No. 3 in next Sunday's list.

So: what brought it to your attention? What did you like most about it?


Marissa said...

I love this book! I'm glad it's gaining back it's popularity. And that's cool that they are making those videos. It really brings the story to life.

prophecygirl said...

I was recommended it, and thought it sounded good. I love Jay Asher's style. Amazing book!