"Coming of Age in the Context of Hyperemotional Listening and Cognitive Mapping:
Jay Asher’s debut young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why is comprised of thirteen transcriptions of the late Hannah Baker’s anecdotes which she recorded onto tapes before committing suicide, interspersed by Clay Jensen’s reactions to said recordings. The novel is presented in the form of a dual narrative, switching back and forth between the points of view of the two protagonists. In addition to the represented medium of audio, the cartographic plays a dominant role in mapping the emotional landscape Clay experiences in the course of listening to Hannah’s tapes and assessing his own role in her story. This essay explores to what degree the covertly intermedial interface of the novel contributes to the creation of narrative meaning, assessing the media-emotion nexus underlying the narrative. This article highlights the challenges of assessing the tracing and translating of the aesthetics of audio into text. Additionally, Marie-Laure Ryan’s concept of cognitive mapping is applied to Asher’s novel, thereby examining the interplay between the media of audio and the cartographic to establish the emotional landscape that characterizes this contemporary young adult suicide novel.