Posted by Lisa Marnell
The rules are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: You listen. Number two: You pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you. (from Cassette 1: Side A)
I first heard of Jay Asher’s YA novel, Thirteen Reasons Why when I read his deal on Publisher’s Marketplace: it sold at auction to Razorbill which is Penguin’s teen imprint. Months later, the cover of Jay’s book caught my eye. The silhouette of a lonely girl on a playground swing was haunting, and the pretend packing tape on its cover intrigued me.
Thirteen Reasons Why takes place over the course of a single evening after Clay Jensen discovers audiotapes on his doorstep. Making his way along a route through town, he listens to Hannah Baker’s voice chronicle the tragic sequence of events that led to her decision to commit suicide weeks earlier.
In writing this book, Jay was trying something new. For twelve years he had written humor. He was ten pages in when he decided to enter the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s & Illustrators (SCBWI), Work-In-Progress grant. Luckily for Jay, they only requested ten pages!
Lisa Marnell: What were your concerns about writing a YA novel that deals with suicide?
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