It's about: Hannah, a teenager who decides to commit suicide. But, before she does, she makes recordings on tape cassettes explaining why and pointing to 13 very specific reasons (people). She tells her story from where she sees the beginning, and explains how each of the 13 people who get copies of the recordings either contributed to her decision or could have helped her and didn't.
The thing is, it's uncomfortable, and the main character is at times very off-putting and unrelatable - in many ways a typical selfish self-obsessed teenager... and yet, I think the book should be REQUIRED reading for all 8th graders. Maybe even younger, I'm not sure.
Asher did an amazing job of going through the actual psyche and impact that various words and actions have had on Hannah that led her to kill herself. And although these words and actions will not always have the same impact on all teenagers, it is certainly not unusual for this type of reaction -- the isolation and fear and depression that results. At the same time, Asher did an amazing job with Clay (the other narrator) and hope and awareness.
Such an impressive feat.
An easy FOUR of five stars (based on audio version, listened to at 1.5 speed)