Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan ~ Review & Release Day

Happy Release Day

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Source: Received ARC from Random House in exchange for a fair and honest review

From Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:


5 stars:  A story that should become a modern day classic, The Tragedy Paper should find it's way into every high school English class, onto every book lovers shelf and into the hearts of all readers.

Some books call to me to read them.  This is one of those books.  It's not my normal fare but it called to me to read it and I'm very glad I listened.  I read it in a day.  I was hooked quickly and just couldn't put it down.  

This story takes place in the past and the present.  Duncan is the present.  Trying to deal with the events of the previous year, he's trying not to make the mistakes of the past.  But he's captivated by the story of the past unfolding before him.  Even though he lived through the experience, he didn't have the back story or the details, only the tragedy.  The tragedy that the reader can only guess at as the details are left to be experienced in the past.  I think that's what kept me so engrossed in this story.  I wanted so badly to find out what happens to Tim.  Of the two boys, he's the one that I connected with.  Albino and never really fitting in anywhere, he enters a new school only to have things feel like his life was in chaos and none of the rules he's used to seem to apply.  Both excited and terrified about this, Tim makes some decisions that take him places he doesn't want to go.  His fatal flaw - his inability to resist the bits of friendship he finds at this school, his inability to miss the tragedy.   The tragedy that belongs in the past but that the reader doesn't know.  That's what compels this story forward.  Yet it is Tim in the present that is the most compelling of all.  His acceptance of responsibility even though many others are to blame as well.  His kindness to Duncan, who feels some responsibility.  All of it woven together to make a modern day classic.

This is the type of story that anyone who loves the classic tragedies of the past and the lessons that they bring will want to read again and again.  This story will appeal to all lovers of great stories.  The Tragedy Paper is packed with strength, forgiveness and acceptance.  It will make you laugh, sigh and cry.  The tragedy is hard, surprising even though you expected one to come in the end but you will love this book despite the tragedy.

Do. Not. Miss. This. One.

Elizabeth LaBan | Goodreads | Twitter  | Amazon | B&N
About the author:  
ELIZABETH LABAN worked at NBC News, taught at a community college, and has written for several magazines and newspapers. The Tragedy Paper is her first young adult novel. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.


  1. This book sounds SO good! I went right to Amazon to buy it - then I saw it was $9.99 for the Kindle version. Yikes! I just can't bring myself to spend that much for an ebook. Bummer!

  2. This sounds amazing! It was actually recommended to me by amazon today, but I hadn't heard of it so I am glad that you reviewed it. I will hold off on buying it for now since I have about a million books to read, but it's definitely going on my TBR list.

  3. Oh, I've heard of this. It sounds pretty brilliant. Do happy to see you lived it , Val. Great review!

  4. I got it! I'll get a copy! Great review :)

  5. I think Entertainment Weekly just reviewed this one in their print edition; I hadn't heard of it. Good to see a more detailed review. Thanks!

  6. I'm very, very curious about this one. Your review is so powerful, Valerie! I'm really looking forward to reading it.

  7. I came across this book somewhere else (Netgalley?) and dismissed it but after reading your review I think I may have to reconsider reading this one. Thanks!

  8. I'll definitely add this one to my TBR. Nice review!

  9. Nice review. I'm adding this one to my TBR list.