Jay Asher Shines “What Light” on “Thirteen Reasons Why”


Despite Jay Asher’s dislike in reading sad books, his novel Thirteen Reasons Why was centered on a very harrowing topic, suicide. The New York Times bestselling author recently visited Trinity and discussed the inspiration behind his books Thirteen Reasons Why, The Future of Us and his most recent novel, What Light, originally published in October of this year. Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why impacted many people and even changed lives because people were able to relate so much to the book.

Librarian Reba Gordon talks about how addicting Thirteen Reasons Why is and agreed that the book was relatable because Asher was so honest when portraying his ideas within the story.

“He is just very honest. He doesn’t try to talk like a kid, which makes his book even more relatable,” Gordon said.

Asher clearly impacts his readers and his books have become topics of discussion. Asher has gone to all 50 states for his tour against bullying, and explains that his book can reach out to both the bully and the victim. However, he explains that he was not necessarily trying to make a difference but was rather trying to tell a story.

“I had a story to tell, and I thought it was interesting,” Asher said.

During his presentation on campus, Asher recounted the details that he had to think about when creating his story, including names, reasons behind the names, and the actual 13 reasons why a girl committed suicide, within the novel.

“Her original name was Anna Baker, I just liked the sound of it, and I was working at a public library at the time doing some research, and I found three other Young Adult books about a girl named Anna who committed suicide, which was just weird,” Asher said.

Asher also admits to naming one of the characters after his best friend because that certain character had a similar personality.

Asher has a great love for writing and he appreciates everything that comes along with the process of writing and publishing a book. He is thankful that he can do what he loves for a job.

“I just love being able to travel around and speak, which I couldn’t do with a full time job,” said Asher.

Asher says that he is not always able to come up with ideas for books and that he sometimes thinks about returning to school, but he is always able to pull through because of his love for writing. Needless to say, nothing can stop Asher from telling a story when he wants to share one.

Trinity students who attended Asher’s presentation were happy to have had the chance to purchase signed hard copies of his novels or have him sign their own books. Asher is now concluding his bullying tour and is currently working on a new book that will come out sometime next year. He is excited to see how readers respond because he claims his newest book will be much different from his other books.