One of the first BIG bestselling YA authors was Jay Asher and his book THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Even before TWILIGHT and Stephenie Meyer took over the NYT bestsellers list, Asher remained on the hardcover list for over two years, garnering fans of his contemporary YA book about a teen suicide. More than 10 years later, and Netflix is releasing a series based on the book, coming out March 31, 2017.
The book centers around Hannah Baker who commits suicide. But before she leaves the world, she records a series of cassettes (will teens today even know what they are?) telling why she chose to end her life. The catch? The box of cassettes is delivered to her classmate Clay Jensen…and the first cassette explains that the reason he is receiving the box is because HE is one of the reasons she chose to end things. Each subsequent cassette is to be passed on to the next person on her list…with a total of 13 people she felt were responsible for her misery.
The book is engrossing, told from Hannah’s perspective, but also showing the fallout from each person who receives a tape. The reasons are detailed, brutal, and one must think, pretty common in many respects for a lot of kids out there today. While some of the subject matter is sensitive, the story covers it beautifully, and Asher’s writing style is too engaging to let the reader put it down.
How will Netflix approach the subject? Asher had a good deal of input on the set, and he claims Netflix will actually use the original ending to the book, so that should be interesting. I know I’ll be setting my reminder to start watching at the end of the month. Will you?