By MOTOKO RICH writing in the New York Times
Published: March 9, 2009
“Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, is made up of the transcripts of audiotapes that 16-year-old Hannah Baker recorded before committing suicide, interspersed with the reactions of a high school classmate who listens to them. Each tape reveals an anecdote about another classmate whose actions the girl blames for her death.
“Death and dying has always been a popular theme for kids,” said Josalyn Moran, vice president for children’s books at Barnes & Noble. “Kids like to read about situations that are worse than theirs and figure out that ‘O.K., my life isn’t so bad.’ ”
The book enjoyed a short run on The New York Times’s children’s chapter books best-seller list last spring. Last fall the publisher released a revised hardcover edition that included a new Q. and A. with Mr. Asher.
Razorbill also commissioned the flagship New York office of Grey, an advertising agency, to develop a YouTube campaign featuring videos of a cassette recorder playing Hannah’s tapes, as read by the actress Olivia Thirlby, who played the title character’s best friend in “Juno.”
“Thirteen Reasons Why” re-entered the chapter-book best-seller list in November at No. 10. When next Sunday’s list is published, it will rise to No. 3.