Jay Asher is not John Green. Enough said? Maybe not. Two entirely different writers. Writers hate being compared to each other (nature of the beast). In this story Jay Asher is dealing with the aftermath. Let me be up front: I have not read Fault in Our Stars, nor have I seen the movie. I know enough about it to be a spoiler (*He Dies* not her*, end of spoiler).
This book was published some six or more years ago, so the chances are good you can find a more critical review elsewhere. Here I will only extol virtues of the book and why you, or somebody else, should read it.
The Upfront: This is a teen book. By “Teen” I of course mean your exceptional eleven or twelve year old. It deals with some sexual innuendo, and death. The girl is DEAD. She killed herself by eating pills. That much is given to you at the beginning.
You follow the heir of her audio cassettes throughout the book, in first/second person. This is a trait of 21st century YA fiction. The 2nd person, you are there, format. Asher pulls it off, and the one device that makes it possible is the “cassette tapes” narration of the girl who killed herself. She give thirteen reasons why she did it. Some are not so significant. In fact it will piss off most adults. Didn’t we learn how to be better people because of such shite? Sure we did. But this is a YA book, and as such the impact of these situations is examined. The big stuff is just that. Enough of a reason. You felt it, therefore your kids do as well. Just because you got over it does not mean they will. If anything Asher has illuminated how each person is different. Some of us are psychologically resilient, others not so much, more than a few have lingering issues. While this story might strike most of us (the Gen-X crowd) as being “After School Special” material, keep in mind you do have kids about this age and times have changed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. All of those have an impact on them. Further, don’t be a dickhead.
If the girl had not “done it”, just imagine the high school reunion. You might have been a dickhead and everybody would know it. Now you have multiple reasons why. This is a morality tale. Well done, at least for the YA crowd. Would I have killed myself over some of this? Nope. Would BB (my son’s name for the sister I grew up with)? Nope. What about your daughter? That is only something you could answer. I will caution you: This story will make you examine how you relate to your child. Don’t read too much into it or they will manipulate you.
READ IF YOU: like the following; Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Future of Us
On Deck: I’ll keep the YA thing going, and self-pub. I will review/highlight Papertowns and Wool. Papertown is YA (John Green) and a kick ass sci-fi/dystopia self published phenom Hugh Howey (Wool). I’m exited about Wool, because I have yet to read it, and USA Today and the NYT gave it a bestseller rating. Not only that, but Wool was optioned or is currently in production courtesy Ridley Scott. Hip hip hooray for self published writers (legacy published people get too much credit, and too little money).