By Jay Asher
Hannah committed suicide. She left no note, no explanation. Yet one day Clay receives a package in the mail. A package containing 13 cassette tapes. As he begins to listen to them, he hears her voice. A voice he thought he would never hear again. The tapes are her explanation. Her story. They are not an excuse, but a way for her to tell those who hurt her, who were part of her story, the role that they played in the events that led to her death.
Asher has created a very powerful book about the nature of teen suicide. Through Hannah he has created a character that the reader sympathizes with, that the reader wants to know more about. It is a warning message about the terrible power of rumors, about how it only takes a little to spiral out of control. It is also a story about revenge, as this is the only way Hannah knows to get her story out, her way of reaching out even though it is too late for anyone to respond. Overall it is a very impressive book, though definitely suited to an older crowd not only due to the frankness it deals with suicide, but also the prevalence of sex and alcohol.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 9th grade