March 21, 2013

The Tragedy Paper - Elizabeth Laban

Young Adult
Pages: 320
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 8, 2013

Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author, calls Elizabeth LaBan’s The Tragedy Paper “a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak.”

It follows the story of 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 secrets.

I will start with the fact that this is the first book I've read that involves an albino protag. This was a different aspect that I enjoyed learning about. Tim's voice was very unique and really interesting. The whole Duncan aspect though, kept irking me and I would have preferred if the book was simply about Tim.

In a way it was different from what I am used to reading in YA. It seemed more forced in a certain way, like the author was trying too hard to make it seem a YA book. But that may be just because the language was very clean and Tim seemed more mature than kids his age.

The Tragedy Paper is about an assignment that goes by the same name in a private boarding school. It is the hardest assignment students have to face during high school at this school. Tim decides to tell Duncan his story (of the previous year) for his assignment. So in this story within a story a tragic love triangle develops and keeps the reader at the edge of their seat until the last bit of Tim's story.

Overall, this is a story that will appeal to YA readers and adults alike, that is very reminiscent of YA classics in a contemporary way and that will entertain any one who picks it up.

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