I heard about this book back when it was released, but I really didn't think it was for me. I wasn't interested in spending my leisure time reading about suicide. It sounded like something I would have been assigned to read in nursing school vs. something I would select for pleasure.
When the Netflix series was released it was once again in the news. My son's middle school principal sent out a message regarding the series and suggested parents watch it with their children as an educational tool, so my husband decided to watch it. He didn't think it was suitable for our 7th grader, so I decided to read the book. I can't watch a series or a movie without reading the book. That just isn't how things should be done.
I was addicted within the first couple of chapters. The story is told from both Clay Jensen's and Hannah Baker's points of view. Clay was the recipient of a mysterious package which contained seven audio tapes created by Hannah Baker. Clay listens to the tapes throughout the book and we get to hear not only what Hannah experienced the past few years that led up to her ultimate decision, but also Clay's thoughts and interpretations of the events.
It is easy to see how one small "joke" can snowball into something that soon spirals out of control. All of the pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly yet nobody could see how each tiny piece made a huge impact on the entire picture.
This book wasn't depressing or a tear jerker like I thought it would be. It showed readers how even small actions can have large consequences. I don't think anyone will walk away from this book and treat people and situations in the same flippant manner they may have in the past.
While the book is Young Adult/Teen, I will not let my 7th grader (12 year old) read this book or watch the series yet. They are going to discuss suicide in his health class this year, so I'm not questioning that portion of the content. It is the other adult material that I do not feel is appropriate for middle schoolers. I would recommend this book for individuals fifteen and over.
Overall, I thought Thirteen Reasons Why was fantastic. I couldn't put it down and I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. I am anxious to watch the series, but I will be sure to do so when my son is not around.