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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

The Tragedy Paper (edition 2013)

by Elizabeth Laban

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3174335,016 (3.71)2
Title:The Tragedy Paper
Authors:Elizabeth Laban
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites, kindle

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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

  1. 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 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 |
Narrated by Nick Chamian and Jesse Bernstein. The narrators' voices didn't quite reflect the characters in the way I expected, but other than that, the unspooling of Tim's story kept me in suspense. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't an actual tragedy paper as written by Duncan, but I guess that would be repeating the whole story! ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
"The Tragedy Paper" which was part romance, part mystery, turned out to be a really gripping read. A story within a story, it was told from two boys points of view - Duncan, the present day and Tim twelve months earlier. I found Tim's story the more engrossing of the two, although I thought his voice was a bit stilted for a teenage boy. He narrated his story on CDs for Duncan to listen to as his 'treasure' when he moved into his new room at the expensive boarding school, Irving. Duncan's story wasn't as well developed as Tim's but I shared his obsession to finish listening Tim's CDs.

Tragedy hangs over the book, but I felt that the tragedy that actually occurred wasn't tragic enough after the build-up. Although Duncan already knows the tragedy, the reader doesn't which created a feeling of suspense, but when it was actually revealed I felt disappointed.

"The Tragedy Paper" was a quiet, beautifully written novel by a debut author and was a more literary YA novel than most, so it may not appeal to teens, but, despite its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will look for future offerings by this author. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:17 -0400)

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.… (more)

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