You read on your honeymoon?!

Of course I did. But so did he! In fact, I had to physically remove the book from his hands so we could get in the convertible Corvette and drive to Tampa for the Lightning game. I digress…

I barely stopped reading to get married, I even listened to an audiobook the day before. I was re-listening to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. (Yeah, talk about a debbie-downer the day before the happiest day of my life. What was I thinking?!) Asher is the keynote speaker at our annual It’s All Write short story contest awards ceremony in April, and I also wanted to be prepared to for the book discussion I am hosting on the title the week prior to his visit.

13I won’t lie (do I ever?)…I loved the book the first go-round when it was published back in 2007, and was angry with it on my second. Not the book, per say, but definitely Hannah. She had opportunities to open up and talk! She could talk to cassette tapes, but not Clay? Not Mr. Porter? Everything she said on the tapes was so deliberate and planned, but her actions were so demur and detached.

But maybe that’s the problem. She was able to be honest in private, but closed up in public. How many other teens seem fine when they are around others, but are full of anger or depression when they are alone? How many teens can’t find the words, or the right person to speak them to?

I hear it all the time from adults. That teens are selfish; they live with their noses shoved into their phones and computers; they are so different from teens of decades past. As someone who has served teens for a few years now, I can say they are all wrong about this demographic. They are no different. No more entitled. They are simply trying to keep their head above water in a large and often-changing world. Teens need adults who will listen to their concerns, because if we don’t listen to them about their smaller struggles, why would they come to us with their larger, potentially life-threatening ones?

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