The Tragedy Paper - YA Review by Sophie D

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 17
Title: The Tragedy Paper
Author: Elizabeth Laban
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pub Date: 01/08/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book:  I really loved the intermingling of the two stories in the book. Duncan and Tim had two very different voices as characters, and their stories were different in many ways, but they also paralleled each other at crucial and unexpected points. All of the characters in the book were also incredibly real, as was the setting. It wasn't hard to imagine this school really existing, and it was really nice that every character was well developed. Even minor characters have back stories, and end up being not-so-minor in the end, just like in real life.
Memorable or Forgettable: Along with the two stories overlapping and connecting, there were other elements that carried through the book and made it a really interesting read. For one, the theme of tragedy and tragedy vocabulary kept on repeating itself. In the book, each senior had to write a Tragedy Paper, that is the defining project of their year. I felt like the book could have been a tragedy paper. I think the author also tried to write it as a tragedy, with all this foreshadowing leading up to the climax. It worked, the story was incredibly atmospheric with this feeling of something awful going to happen.
Cover: The cover is lovely. It really does capture the atmosphere of the book, and picks up on the themes of snow and whiteness.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: All that Duncan wants for his senior year is to forget, to forget the tragic accident of last year. But Tim Macbeth won't let him forget. Through a series of CDs left for Duncan, Tim tells his story of never fitting in, unrequited love, and, above all, the substance of a Tragedy Paper.

tags:  coming of age / romance / high school / albinism / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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