Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.
Before the Event:
I've had a really stressful week so I was really excited to go to the signing. Jay had messaged me on Facebook a few days before and that's actually how I found out about the event. I got all dressed up and took my battered copy of Thirteen Reasons Why and a couple business cards. One of my friends is actually OBSESSED with this book but she had softball so she couldn't go. Jay Asher is absolutely incredible so I was so excited.
I got to Tampa Prep a few minutes late but the signing still hadn't started, which was a relief. The lovely folks at Inkwood were there so I was really excited. I hadn't seen them since the Mara Dyer signing. I bought a copy of The Future of Us from them and settled in my chair. The entire time I was peeking around. I recognized Jay from his author picture but I always have to double check just in case, since it's a little different in person.
The entire time, I tweeted at @jayasherguy, telling him how excited I was and (basically) proving how big of a stalker I was. The principal of Tampa Prep got up to talk and he did a very good introduction of Jay Asher, calling him an "author, blogger, and Twitter-er". Then Jay started to speak
During the Event:
Wow. Jay is a FANTASTIC speaker. He's both incredibly informative about the writing process and completely hilarious. He manages to make it feel personal and was just so so amazing. I continued to stalker-tweet at him throughout the event and also wrote down some of the things that he said so that I could share them with y'all. After hearing him, I am so jealous of all the Tampa Prep students who got to work with him throughout the day.
He started off by talking about how he became a writer and shared a humorous story about Vanilla Ice. Apparently, he used to write funny children's books that weren't very good, including Stop Easter Bunny, You Forgot Something! (That might not be exactly the title, but it sounds right). He seemed very grateful that they were never published.
He split the inspiration for the book between two sources. While he was in Vegas, he went on an audio tour and really loved that element. He wanted to use that in one of his projects but tucked it away for the future. The second part was that he had a relative about Hannah's age who tried to commit suicide and was extremely influenced by that. He said that he got into fascinating but incredibly painful conversations with her about what happened to make her feel like nobody cared. It was with those two sources that he crafted Hannah's story and Thirteen Reasons Why was born.
He told us about how he learned to write suspense, comparing it to his beloved children's book, The Monster at the End of this Book. He talked about great writing techniques and included information about critique partners. He compared his rejection letters to the ways a girl breaks up with a guy, including "It's not you, it's me" and "I'm seeing someone else." He shared his fantastic publishing story, including a picture of telling his wife and his mom. He told his wife at the same spot that they got married! He discussed word choice and buying his book only to return it.
One of my favorite parts of the night was seeing the emails that Jay put up on the screen. He showed us four emails that touched him, that he received several months after his book was out. They were from teens talking about suicide, Thirteen Reasons Why, and how the book changed people. What I thought was absolutely amazing and really shows the power of books was that somebody recognized Hannah in somebody else at her school. That night after reading it, she called that girl and talked for four hours. The girl told her everything and about her suicide plans. Thirteen Reasons Why led to somebody preventing a suicide. Is that not AMAZING?
After talking about Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay discussed co-writing The Future of Us, his son, and the movie. He showed us a picture of him and Selena Gomez and talked about interest for the movie. Personally, I would kill to see that movie if there is a Thirteen Reasons Why movie but he also talked about his concerns for authenticity and getting the message across. Really, he was excellent.
He talked about some more and joked a lot more. I was laughing and inspired and absolutely fell in love with his speaking. I would love to hear him speak again. I asked a question about voice and then we had some Q&A. After the Q&A session, it was time for the signing.
I got in line and got my books signed. There were some Tampa Prep students behind me but I didn't recognize anybody. I got to talk to Jay for a few minutes. It's always nerve-wracking meeting an author you've idolized for so long and you always want to have them remember you. I don't know if he did, but I loved talking to him. I got a picture with him (below!) although it's not the best quality and it's pretty small.
I really loved the signing and was so happy to finally meet Jay Asher. I loved it. I hope y'all enjoyed my recap! If you haven't read Thirteen Reasons Why or The Future of Us, I highly recommend them.Love y'all!Grace