Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy PaperTitle: The Tragedy Paper

Author: Elizabeth LaBan

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Published: January 8, 2013

Source: NetGalley

Summary (Goodreads): 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.

Review: The Tragedy Paper is an amazing debut novel. Told from two view-points (Duncan & Tim), this novel pulls you in from the very first page. I enjoyed the fact that the two main characters were males since so many YA books have been female dominant lately (not that I don’t enjoy those books, but this was a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately). What I enjoyed even more is that there is) a love story (two, in fact) told from the male perspective. The plot is revealed by jumping from the past to present back to the past and it gets so twisted that reader can’t possibly escape from it. The ending felt a little open, which has me hoping for a sequel but sometimes that’s just the way life goes.

I love that YA literature is so smart; the characters are intelligent and value school and still are very much teenagers. I think that sometimes people forget how smart young adults are and LaBan did an excellent job capturing real teenagers. I like the reference to Shakespeare and the fact that the whole story stems from an epic assignment given to all seniors. LaBlan’s writing style and plot points reminded me of John Green (who I love) and I look forward to more of her writing.


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Filed under Debut Author Challenge 2013, Reviews

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