California-based young adult writer Jay Asher has written a thought-provoking novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, which explores the tiny things that add up and cause someone to commit suicide. The story opens when the main character, Clay Jensen, receives 7 tapes in the mail, with 13 sides recorded, each side naming one person whose actions caused a young woman to kill herself. Although Hannah Baker doesn’t blame Clay,Â he begins to realizeÂ for himself that he had failed to reach out to Hannah when he had a chance because his own fear of being rejectedÂ was so huge. Although I wanted to see Clay in a more active role throughout the novel (rather than simply listening to Hannah’s narrative via the tapes), the novel left me plenty to ponder. How does our behavior–even things we say or do that we consider to beÂ jokes–influence people beyond our wildest imaginations? In what way does social behavior that many consider normal, even complimentary, actually violate people’s moral integrity and sense of control over their own body? What responsibilities do we have as teachers, parents, students, and friends to notice when something is awry in somebody else’s life? Where do we draw the line between prying into something that’s not our business and intervening, even if we end up with egg on our face? And how the hell do people who know the signs of suicide fail to notice them when they’re as obvious as sunlight? Good luck, Jay, with your future writing career and congratulations on publishing a thoughtful first novel that sets a great standard for books to come!