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The Tragedy Paper: Elizabeth LaBan

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Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. 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, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

Kim's Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars

Kim's Review:
Enter here to be and find and friend

The Tragedy paper is an intriguing YA read and totally different from my usual choices. But it drew me in immediately and I was sucked into the story within a story premise. 

As the story begins, Duncan is back to The Irving Private High School anda tradition in their new dorm rooms is that the last person to have the room leaves a treasure for the new student. Duncan received a stack of CDs from the previous tenant, Tim. Tim is somehow tied up in the tragedy with Duncan of the year before...but we do not know why. Tim is a lonely albino student used to being ostracized and alone. 

Duncan quickly becomes enthralled in the CDs from Tim retelling the story of how he met Vanessa, the girl he fell for and all of the events leading up to the tragic night the year before. I felt like I was sitting alongside Duncan listening to Tim's CDs and was compelled to keep listening as the story unfolds. Tim's story is told in the first person and you can feel the loneliness, the insecurity, the fear, and the strong feelings he has for Vanessa.

"A tragedy is a play or literary work in which the main character--that would be the trgic hero--suffers greatly and is brought to ruin,. Usually this suffering and ruin come about because of the main character's own flaw or weakness and his or her inability to deal with the lot he or she has been given."

Duncan's current life involves having to write a major paper about tragedy for English and also taking a chance with the girl he likes, Daisy. Tim starts to have a strong affect on Duncan's life and choices. The suspense kept building and I just had to keep reading to find out what the tragedy was and who was affected.

"Everything is connected my friend. Everything is connected."

It was really a poignant, sad, and beautiful story. It's a story of taking chances and believing in yourself...of being a better person...of not letting the past take over your future. It was well written, engaging, and had a good message. This book is suitable for younger readers as well as more mature ones. 


Thanks to Random House Children's books and netgalley for a chance to read and review this book.

1 comment:

  1. I have this book on my TBR and I'm really fascinated with the mystery behind the tape. It kind of reminds me of thirteen reasons why and i can't wait to read this one. Wonderful review :)

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