I had so many people suggest this novel to me that when I saw it on a clearance shelf I had to buy it. I then decided it would be my gym read… this was probably a poor choice as it took me forever to finish, but I am glad I did. The story follows a teen boy who has found 13 tapes in the mail. They were recorded immediately prior to a classmates suicide and explain how many different events affected her. There is interest and intrigue and you find yourself really invested in finding out what happens. Why does he have the tapes- how did he contribute to her depression, to her ultimate suicide? I think this would be a great discussion starter. Too often our students don’t realize the affect that they can have on others.
This book is definitely a high school level book. There are discussions of alcohol use, sexual encounters, sexual assault and other serious topics. However, there are CLEAR consequences to these actions that I think are appropriately handled. I think it would make a great classroom read. The main character is a male, but the suicide victim is a female so I see it appealing to both genders.
The Lowdown (Via Scholastic)
Interest Level :Grade 9 (I would include 10-12)
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.2
Includes: Scholastic Reading Counts! Quiz , Accelerated Reader Quiz
CLICK HERE FOR A DISCUSSION GUIDE!
Awards: (List from official website)
New York Times Best Seller Publishers Weekly Best Seller
California Book Award Winner
Best Books for Young Adults (YALSA)
Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers (YALSA)
Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults (YALSA)
Borders Original Voices finalist
Barnes & Noble – Top 10 Best for Teens
International Reading Assoc. – Young Adults’ Choices
Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice
Book Sense Pick – Winter
Chicago Public Library Best Books
Association of Booksellers for Children – Best Books
State Awards – Winner (voted on by students): Florida, Kansas, Kentucky
Also, for further reading about using this book in your classroom, and or other resources for dealing with the topic of bullying, check out the July issue of NCTE’s English Journal…
English Journal, Vol. 101, No. 6, July 2012
Filed under: Alcohol, Bullying, Classroom Read, First Love/Crushes, Fitting In, Individual Read, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Suicide, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, YALSA Awards | Tagged: Jay Asher, YA Literature, YALSA, Young Adult |