Dear Jay Asher,
Ever since I learned to read, I have been engrossed with books- no single one could satiate me for any extended length of time. The first time I saw Thirteen R3asons Why, I was at the library as usual with my dad, gathering my half dozen novels for the week, when I first saw Hannah Baker's face gazing off knowingly, even hauntingly, into space. She seemed to whisper to me, to know my secret. Not being one to read the back of a book, I plucked her off the shelf, checked out my gatherings, and began to read.
As I delved into Clay's suddenly altered life, I instantly connected it to mine- I had known for nearly a month that in a week my mother and I would be moving out of the house I had loved and into my grandmother's basement, leaving my dad. Not wanting to think about that, I read slower, living through the pages of your book as opposed to mine. Not long after the tapes began to play, I began to analyze Hannah's emotional snowball and my own. There were enough differences between the two of us that I knew I'd never carry the burden she carried as she planned her death: I have people to talk to who will take the time to listen, my true friends have always stood by me even though it seemed crazy at the time, and I can't think of anyone who would be better off without me. Still, there were similarities that screamed out at me: I, too have been betrayed by a false friend, I've felt utterly lost, and I let my anger get the best of me more often than I'd like.
The day soon came that my mother and I moved out, and nestled safely inside my backpack was your book, where it stayed until once more I could read. Hannah was now confronting the final reason, and as I read I saw not her words, but those of my mother on the page. I thought about my dad's depression, his stress, his sleep disorder, and saw Hannah in him too. Most importantly, I saw her in myself. Much too soon I finished, shocked and horrified, amazed and confused. I was driven to reread it with an obsessive fervor until I had accrued numerous late fines and was forced to return it.
All that was in January 2010. Right now it's November, my parents' divorce was finalized a few weeks ago, and I am settling into my two homes quite nicely. Thirteen R3asons Why didn't just pull me through that first month; I also realized that Hannah lives in each and every one of us. Something that I may shrug off as simply a nuisance may be the tipping point for someone else. Every time I say "Goodbye" I say "I love you" in case I am someone's Clay. When a friend's family member is sick, or when everyone leaves at Girl Scout camp and there isn't a dry eye in sight, I comfort those that I can. If that stereotypical kid in the corner can't find a partner, I ask if we can have a group of three with them. Hannah's face caught my eye again recently, and I have begun to prescribe her to friends under stress, in the hope that they, too, will finish, match her omniscient expression, and thank her as I have.