"Everybody has a story to tell, don't be afraid to tell yours."
The quote is from the popular novel by Jay Asher, newly adapted into a Netflix original series, "13 Reasons Why."
The series follows the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school student who moved to a new town to start fresh but becomes the subject of intense ridicule and bullying, leading her to ultimately take her own life.
Hannah leaves her story and reasoning for her tragic decision in a series of 13 cassette tapes, one for every person who led her to do what she did.
Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), her seemingly only real friend, is given the tapes and struggles whether he will protect himself or if he will reveal Hannah's truth and give her family the justice they deserve.
"13 Reasons Why" is one of the most realistic and gritty depictions of the modern teenage adolescent struggling with thoughts of depression and suicide, without sugar-coating it and taking away from its main intent, making it a commendable depiction of what words and actions can lead a person to feel, think and do.
The show's characters add to its praise-worthy portrayal. Rather than introducing cliched elements like nerds and jocks, the series creates a complex set of characters showing different perspectives and priorities in these individuals.
Even the show's soundtrack invites the perfect mood for each scene, whether depressing, content or heartfelt.
The show's perspective on the life of a conflicted teenager is accomplished in a precise and authentic manner.
Interesting enough, Katherine Langford, the courageous lead of the show, despite being a newcomer in the world of acting, radiates among the other actors, who also do phenomenal job portraying each distinct character.
The story is disturbing and upsetting for not only its focus on the effects of suicide on an individual, but also rape, slut shaming, drug abuse, stalking, and how human error can have a butterfly effect on others.
Although the show can appear to be made exclusively for teens, it's a show everyone should be watching. There is an adult element in the show that is appropriate for a series focusing on the development of teens into mature adults.
The series accomplishes a suspenseful and developed plot that illustrates suppressed and delicate topics that need to be addressed in society.
"13 Reasons Why" is one of the most heartbreaking shows ever to surface from the Netflix catalog, especially the scenes involving Hannah's encounter with a guidance counselor, which proves how sometimes the feelings of a teenager can be disregarded due to their age.
The show has become popular among students. "I really loved how they did it, and I feel like they followed the book really well," said Manuela Uscher, a junior at Archbishop McCarthy High. "They showed some aspects of high school that teens need to see and realize."
Archbishop sophomore Courtney Malalel said "13 Reasons Why" is a powerful show "because the content is just so real. Most movies about high school are just about the petty drama that eventually fades, but '13 Reasons Why' goes into depth about things that happen that people don't consider 'appropriate' to discuss. However, more and more teenagers experience what the show puts out to its audience, so it helps them feel as though they aren't alone in these difficult situations, and it may even encourage them to reach out for help or help others around them."
"13 Reasons Why" is currently streaming on Netflix.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Nicholas Brito, Archbishop Mccarthy High, Teenlink Correspondent