Author brings anti-bullying message to high school

We affect one another.

Author Jay Asher intentionally affirmed this when he wrote the 2007 young adult suspense novel “Thirteen Reasons Why,” about a teen girl who committed suicide and the people who played a role in her decision to do so.

But it wasn’t until after Asher received feedback about his debut book — which became a No. 1 New York Times Best Seller and an international best seller — that he realized the book is not just a nod to the Golden Rule but an anti-bullying anthem.

Now Asher is traveling to one school in every state to talk to teens about the book, published by a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, and the timely issue of bullying.

The 19th stop on his 50 States Against Bullying campaign was North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek on Dec. 1.

Asher gave two 45-minute presentations to a total of about 800 students in ninth through 12th grade, followed by a QA session.

In “Thirteen Reasons Why,” a high schooler named Clay finds a shoe box containing cassette tapes and a map sitting on his porch. His classmate and crush, Hannah, who committed suicide two weeks prior, has explained through recordings 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. As Clay listens to the tapes, using the map to visit the locations Hannah mentions, he discovers each of the reasons, which are actually people, including himself.

During the presentations, Asher explained that the idea for the book was inspired by an audio tour he had taken and by a relative who attempted suicide when she was a teen.

Carmen Horn, a 10th-grader at North Broward Prep, has read the book three times.

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