One good reason to read ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’

I’m always looking for an exceptional youth or young adult novel to offer my book groups. These books are almost always exceptionally well written. To me, that means lovably flawed characters who experience realistic changes in their lives, compelling story lines, and lively pacing.

Of course, these are the hallmarks of any good discussable book. But there’s usually more focus on the characters and the story in a teen novel and a little less description and exposition. My book group members appreciate that.

In the latest Entertainment Weekly, I’ve found the book that I’ll be giving to my adult book groups. Thirteen Reasons Why, a debut novel from Jay Asher thirteen_reasons_whypublished in 2007 that is still resonating with readers of all ages, and likely a little more now, since the Wall Street Journal‘s opinion piece criticizing the content of contemporary young adult novels.

EW conducted an interview with Asher on his novel and how he came to write about a sensitive and emotionally-charged subject such as teen suicide. He recounts how difficult, yet rewarding, book tours could be. Then he admits to his own fears and insecurities when it came time to pen a follow-up to this well received novel.

In a second interview with EW, Asher muses on Meghan Cox Gurdon’s viewpoint that young adult literature is too dark for impressionable minds and may even “normalize” or influence teens to extreme behavior. Asher scoffs at this, believing teens need and want to read about the lives of other teens, both the good and the bad parts. They talk about what they read with their friends, classmates, and even Asher.

Sounds very like a book group, doesn’t it?



About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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