Deadline reports that Netflix has given a straight-to-series order to the Selena Gomez-executive produced TV adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult novel, 13 Reasons Why.
The novel, Variety explains, caught Gomez’ interest a while ago, and she, along with Mandy Teefey (her mother) and Kristel Laiblin (a producer), looked into having it adapted through Anonymous Content. It was originally in development at Universal to become a feature, however was later (through Paramount TV), reformatted as a (fittingly) 13-episode miniseries — presumably exploring one “reason” per episode.
The book follows a high schooler named Clay who’s just received a package full of cassettes from Hannah Baker, a classmate who killed herself two weeks prior. On the tapes, she lists 13 reasons for her suicide. It turns out the tapes were sent out to one student — who’s blackmailed into pass them on to eleven other students on the list, all of whom contributed to Hannah’s decision to take her life. They all must pass on the tapes to the next person, lest they get released by another student possesses a second set of recordings.
The series is penned by Brian Yorkey, who wrote the rock musical Next to Normal, which won him 3 Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for Drama. Like 13 Reasons Why, it deals with suicide. Ben Brantley glowed that the play — “a portrait of a manic-depressive mother and the people she loves and damages” — is “a feel-everything musical, which asks you, with operatic force, to discover the liberation in knowing where it hurts” — so it seems that Jay Asher’s material is in good hands.