Jay Asher is an American born writer with three publications in the genre of you adult literature. Born in Arcadia, California in 1975, his family encouraged Jay and his younger brother Nate to in the arts and literature and he pursued his interest in music and writing from a young age. He created several picture books and school humour novels in his youth which ingrained his urge to write even more. In his final year of studying to be an elementary school teacher at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College, he left in order to pursue his dream career as a novel writer. In his early career Asher had to supplement his income by working as a salesman in a shoe store, manning the desk at his local library and also worked in various bookstores. Asher was married to Joan Marie in September 2002 and has a son.
He has appeared in media interviews multiple times including appearances on CNN Living, Barnes and Noble’s Meet the Writers and has featured in the New York Time and The Wall Street Journal. Asher is known for reaching out to his fans at various events at libraries, schools and bookstores around the United States. He has said that travelling around the country and talking about his books to audiences and meeting readers is much more fun than the hard work and many hours spent behind a desk writing his next novel. He is a fan of the 1990’s hit TV series My So Called Life which he says, has been a major influence on his writing.
Asher’s debut young adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why appeared on the revered The New York Times bestseller list and has sold 2.5 million copies in the United States since its publication in 2007. The book was published by RazorBill, a division of the well known Penguin Books. Thirteen Reasons Why has been adapted for the small screen in a thirteen part series produced by teen icon Selena Gomez which will run on Netflix from October 2016 featuring upcoming star actors Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro and Michael Sadler.
Translated into over 30 languages, Asher’s novels have made their mark on the highly competitive Young Adult contemporary writing scene and the progression of his novel Thirteen Reasons Why to the small screen bears testament to this.
Inspired by real events that took place in his high school, San Luis Obispo High, Asher’s first novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, tells the story of Hannah Baker, a teen who commits suicide due to a tortured existence. Seen through the eyes of Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s classmates, the book uncovers the thirteen reasons that lead to her suicidal decision in a set of audio tapes that she sent to a classmate to be spread as a chain letter. Through her voice, Hannah’s classmates are given a peek into Hannah’s life and the reasons for her sorrow that ended in her suicide. Clay Jensen becomes witness to Hannah’s pain and uncovers the truth about his classmates and himself, which is one he does not like.
Thirteen Reasons Why received five stars from the Teen Book Review and has won several awards including a Young Adults’ Choice Award from the 2009 International Reading Association Awards as well as being a 2008 California Book Award winner in the Young Adult category. It achieved number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list and spent over sixty weeks on the list in hardcover, paperback, e-book and audio book formats and Asher’s peers have praised the book including Sherman Alexle, and Chris Crutcher. It was voted a winner in the State Awards by students in Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina and South Dakota.
In his second offering, The Future of Us, which Asher co-wrote with Carolyn Mackler, the author of teen novel The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things, Asher tells the story of teenagers Josh and Emma. The year is 1996 and the two teens have just got online thanks to AOL and CD-Roms, but upon entering the world wide web, they find themselves on Facebook fifteen years into the future. They get a glimpse at what their future lives are like through pictures, status updates and friends which ultimately leads them to trying to control their life outcome.
The Future of Us added more awards to Asher’s tally including Best Books for Young Adults (YALSA), a starred review in Publishers Weekly, Barnes and Noble’s Best Books of 2011 and a Readers Choice Award at the MTV Hollywood Crush.
The book had foreign rights sold in multiple languages including Chinese, Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
To round up his trio of Young Adult novels, Asher started work on What Light which was scheduled for release in October 2016. A coming of age romance novel, What Light delves into the life of Sierra, who lives with her family that run a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every year, the family packs up at Christmas time and heads to California where they setup a Christmas tree lot. This leaves Sierra split between two lives, one in rural Oregon and another in urban California.
Sierra meets Caleb, a young man struggling with daemons from the past, and Sierra has to look beyond Calebs previous shortcomings and helps him find forgiveness. Emotions are stirred up and tension and strain on their relationship is played out throughout the book, but the discovery of true love eclipses all in this beautiful life-affirming story.
Based on the sales and success of his previous novels, Jay Asher is sure to continue his popularity in the teen novel genre. His writing is well constructed and plots well thought out. He is able to add suspense to his writing not often seen in the Young Adult category and with huge success around the world in multiple languages, publishers will be chasing him to stay behind his keyboard to write more. The Netflix production of Thirteen Reasons Why, could be the tipping point in his relatively young writing career as it was for J. K. Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series which lead to big screen production and George R. R. Martins’ books which lead to HBO’s Game of Thrones.Book Series In Order » Authors » Jay Asher