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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy Paper

by Elizabeth LaBan

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4374239,830 (3.67)3
While preparing for the most dreaded assignment at the prestigious Irving School, the Tragedy Paper, Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy.
  1. 00
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (Sandwich76)
  2. 00
    Looking for Alaska by John Green (amysisson)
    amysisson: "Looking for Alaska" explores tragedy much as "The Tragedy Paper" does, but doesn't spend so much time discussing it explicitly -- which in my mind makes it even more effective. The two books have the boarding school theme in common, as well as a special, unique young woman who has captured the protagonist's heart.… (more)

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The Tragedy Paper is a book that I would have LOVED as a teenager; it is a prime example of my favorite genre at the time: YA books about teens with REAL PROBLEMS. The book opens with Duncan going back to boarding school for his senior year. One of the school's traditions is that seniors from the previous year leave a gift for them in their dorm rooms. While Duncan's friend get a bottle of whiskey, Duncan gets a stack of CD's from Tim, "that albino kid." We are told that SOMETHING TERRIBLE happened last year, SOMETHING AWFUL that Duncan does not want to think about. What happened?!

We don't find out until the final pages, and for all that time in between, nothing happens. Duncan listens to the CD's, which contain Tim's discussion of what happened last school year (very [b:Thirteen Reasons Why|29844228|Thirteen Reasons Why|Jay Asher|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1496655158s/29844228.jpg|2588213]). This is odd because Duncan and Tim weren't friends.. we find out that they didn't know each other until THE EVENT. So why does Duncan care so much about Tim's love life? Why is Duncan so riveted by Tim's account of his senior year? I just don't buy it. Nothing even happens in the tapes (um, CD's).. Tim loves Vanessa, but Vanessa has a boyfriend, and SOMETHING HORRIBLE is going to happen..

The thing is, once the EVENT finally occurs (a boarding school prank, very [b:Looking for Alaska|99561|Looking for Alaska|John Green|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1394798630s/99561.jpg|919292]), you're left shaking your head. Was that it?! The HORRIBLE THING is such a letdown, such a perfect example of an"anticlimactic" event that I hesitate to use that word.

In The Tragedy Paper, LaBan pulls in details of Looking of Alaska and Thirteen Reasons Why in an attempt to hook teenage readers with a rip-off of their favorite books. I did enjoy that the kids at her boarding school have to write a senior thesis exploring what a tragedy really is (hence the book's title), but other than that minor plot point, this book is boring. Please skip it. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I just finished this one and my mind is going crazy....

From the minute I opened the book I was consumed by an intense, wonderful story. My heart surrendered to Tim and I began to think about the story when I wasn't reading.

It was about an Albino teen falling in love and getting twisted up in a forbidden romance... He isn't exactly normal so he isn't sure what to do when he is stuck in the middle of a love triangle. His feelings are all over the board. While struggling with that though his health takes a turn for the worse and at the end it plays a huge role in the outcome of the book.

The story is told by recorded tapes. Duncan is the boy listening and we do get an insight into his life as well. Later in the book you will realize how the two are connected.

That ending! I need more Tim... like yesterday!
The reviews weren't great, but I gave it a chance and I am so glad that I did.

I definitely recommend this story to everyone looking for a plot with meaning.
( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan is the story of the senior year of albino Tim Macbeth at the Irving School, as told through CDs to Duncan Meade. While it is now Duncan's senior year at the prestigious boarding school, Tim left the CD's as a legacy of sorts to him as the new resident of the small corner room Tim was relegated to the year before. Since all the seniors are assigned a tragedy paper as a senior year thesis, Tim promises that the CDs will not only tell the story of the tragedy that occurred the year before, but that the story will help Duncan write his tragedy paper. The CD's explain Tim's connection to the popular girl, Vanessa, and slowly build until the final tragedy is fully explained.

The Tragedy Paper is a YA novel and is listed as suitable for age 12 and up. It certainly would be a suitable novel for the YA audience. There is no questionable language and the rule breaking present is very innocent. The pacing of the story is gradual and deliberate, allowing anticipation of the upcoming tragedy to build. LaBan handled the plot and character development with skill. These characters felt like actual young people going through a confusing time in their lives, while unbeknownst to then a tangible tragedy is about to unfold.

Certainly a novel about a tragedy, and a tragedy paper that must be written, will include many parallels to the literary influences found in other novels and plays. There was abundant foreshadowing and premonitions that something was going to happen. Works mentioned or credited with influencing The Tragedy Paper include: S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now, The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Dead Poet’s Society, Thirteen Reasons Why, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres (based on King Lear) and, naturally, Shakespearean plays (with a Macbeth and a Duncan, need I even mention this.)

I will very highly recommend The Tragedy Paper as a YA novel worth an adult's time too.


Disclosure: My Advanced Reading Copy Kindle edition was courtesy of Random House Children's Books and Netgalley for review purposes.

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Review to come ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
Review to come ( )
  Stebahnree | Mar 13, 2016 |
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