Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy PaperTitle: The Tragedy Paper 
Author: Elizabeth LaBan
 Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: January 8th 2013
Pages: 312
Genre:  YA Realistic Ficion
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their .

I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time. I was very excited by the synopsis and couldn’t wait to dive in… then I saw it on audio and knew I needed to get to it. The story was really good, the plot deep, and the characters really do make the story… however the synopsis really doesn’t match the book. Still I enjoyed the book. The book deals with more of the meaning of tragedy, what leads up to a tragedy, and what comes from a tragedy than forbidden love. At least that is what I was left with at the end of the book. The audio was good, it had two narrators for the two viewpoints. One of the narrators, I loved, the other I dealt with, eventually was able to get into the story beyond his narration. Luckily the one I loved was for more than half the book.

Duncan is in his senior year at his boarding school and is excited to find his treasure left by a previous senior. What he finds in his room is not what he expected. He finds a box of CDs left by Tim, the boy who had his room the year before. Tim’s CDs tell the story of Tim and the beginning, the middle, and the end of his personal tragedy. The story centers around the time Tim joined the boarding school and started the senior’s well know tragedy paper. In the story Duncan relives the life, love, and loss that Tim lived his senior year.

I really enjoyed this book. There were so many different things to enjoy. I liked the story, the tragedy, the characters, and the writing. I felt so involved in this story, I completely sunk into every moment.

When I first started the book I wasn’t too sure what to think. It starts off with Duncan finding the the CDS of Tim's story. I had a bit of a hard time with the narrator for Duncan and it seemed it may start off a little bit slow. Once the book started on Tim's story, I was hooked. The book is mainly from Tim's point of view so slowly I did get used to Duncan's story and ended up liking it in the end. Both stories are about their relationships, the tragedy paper, and the how they fit into the student body, but the main focus was a tragedy and the title fit perfectly with the story.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the boarding school setting. Normally I don't particularly like the boarding school setting but this one was unique with many school and student traditions that made the school setting fun and very interesting. It was a very small school, and the student body was pretty close with many teachers that truly cared. The classes seemed less formal and there was just so many things to get into.

The characters were easy to connect too especially Tim. I loved his story and his voice. The fact that he is albino and enters into a school half way through his senior year gives him the disadvantage that you feel and root for him to overcome. He is a sweet kid who tries to fit in and make the right decisions.

Vanessa was a little harder to love but definitely likable. She was fun, different, and seemed really good for Tim. The only problem is she played with his heart a little too much. I found her a it of coward when it came to her relationship with Patrick, which was my least favorite character. He fit his part well for the story. The popular kid that everyone listened to and he tended to always get his way. I didn't like him very much, the way he treated people was crappy, but the story wouldn't be the same without him.

The story was written well and flowed nicely throughout. This is the kind of book I tend to get bored in or immersed in, I was very immersed. 

I really loved this book and look forward to more from this author. If you like realistic fiction give it a try!


  1. I've seen this around but not paid much attention to it since the cover never grabbed me. after reading this review it's being added to my (lengthy) wishlist! I'd be a bit worried about the boarding school setting and dual narrative but I think I'll give it a shot.

    Side note: I recently read an awesome boarding school contemporary which I'd totally recommend if you want a close knit traditional setting - Escape Theory by Margaux Froley. Sounds like the atmosphere in this book is the same :)

    Jade @ Ink Scratchers

    1. I have Escape Theory sitting on my shelf. I may need to move it up. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Hmm. This sounds interesting-- but you're right, (based on what you said) the synopsis doesn't match the story. Tim sounds really cool, in a misfit guy kind of way! Duncan also sounds nice, but I'm not sure. Fab review, I can't wait to read this! (:

    Megan@The Book Babe


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