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Best-selling author makes a stop in Poland to talk about teen suicide

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POLAND, Ohio - He's the man behind the New York Times best-seller 'Thirteen Reasons Why', a work of teen fiction inspired by a very real experience.

"I had a close relative that attempted suicide when she was the same age as the character in my book, a junior in high school and when that happened I never thought I would write about it," said author Jay Asher.

But years later, author Jay Asher found a way to write about it.  Now, he travels the country talking to teens about his novels and the issue of teen suicide.  He made a stop at the Poland Library as part of Teen Read Week to speak with a group of 8th graders, who recently finished the book.

"I think 8th grade is a good age group because we are going to go to high school next year and usually in the high school that's where bullying mostly comes into play and everything starts to happen," said Struthers Middle School student Santino Diaz-Palma.

And it can last long beyond the middle and high school years.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide among 10 to 24-year-olds is the 3rd leading cause of death, statistics, many of the students at Tuesday's event are passionate about changing.

"I try and step in as much as I can because kids do kill themselves and I want to try and prevent that," said Struthers Middle School student Julia Neifer.

"I feel kind of like it is my responsibility to get their spirits up and like inspire them to come to school each day with a smile on their face and a good message to them to say that you life is worth a lot," said Struthers Middle School student Ayana Beulah.

The message, Jay Asher was always hoping to get across.

"You need to let them know that they can talk to you," said Asher.

Film rights for Asher's 'Thirteen Reasons Why' have been acquired.  Actress Selena Gomez has signed on to star as the lead.

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