I have recently read a lot of books...and failed to write about them. I chose the book 13 Reasons Why for this re-start up post because I could easily come up with 13 reasons why I haven't written in over a month. But I will spare you.
I first heard about this book at the LDStorymaker's Conference in Utah last year. I attended a class by super agent Laura Rennert, and she went on and on about this book that she repped and sold. I had to read it. And I did.
It's about this girl Hannah Baker who committed suicide. But not before she recorded her voice on a series of cassette tapes and left the tapes for 13 different people who she considered to have contributed to her decision to kill herself. We follow one of those people through the story on the tapes, and it is creepy.
I loved it. It's no wonder its a best-seller. It's unique, daring, dynamic. Here's what I learned:
Male authors aren't so bad! (**tongue in cheek btw**) I don't often read books by male authors. Not purposefully of course. It just so happens that most of the books I choose are written by females. But Jay Asher is so different. He comes from such a guy place. It's enlightening and insightful to read what a contemporary young kid in high school thinks like.
Internal dialogue is a great way for a reader to get in the protag's head. This is a common tool, but the way Jay Asher does it is cool. Because he is listening to tapes, and hardly ever talking to other people, he is constantly talking in his own head as if Hannah was there. You might not get what I am saying here. But go read the book and you will see what a great technique he uses.
We need big issues in YA books. Suicide! Rape! Bullying! These issues don't always get approached so heartily. Jay Asher tackles them, and really explores their consequences.
Maybe I say this too much, but setting is so important. This story takes place in a small town in California (I think). West coast anyway. There is an awesome atmosphere as he walks around his town and takes in certain landmarks listed on a map that goes with the tapes. It is a haunting journey.
And that's all I have to say about that. (Forrest Gump accent included).