The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy Paper

Book rating: 03 Hardback Doubleday Children's Books

By (author) Elizabeth LaBan

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  • Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 222mm x 30mm | 441g
  • Publication date: 10 January 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0857533010
  • ISBN 13: 9780857533012
  • Sales rank: 606,464

Product description

Every year at an exclusive private boarding school in New York state, the graduating students uphold an old tradition - they must swear an oath of secrecy and leave behind a "treasure" for each incoming senior. When Duncan Meade inherits the room and secrets of Tim Macbeth, he uncovers evidence of a clandestine romance, and unravels the truth behind one of the biggest mysteries in the school's history. How far would you go to keep a secret?

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Author information

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.

Customer reviews

By Reeka 02 Apr 2013 3

Wow, what a build-up to an end that I was SO sure would be a whole lot more..well...tragic. I respected the author's obvious nod to the likes of Macbeth and/or other Shakespearean tragedies. I just kept feeling like I was missing a whole underlying story line. As a lot of other reviewers stated, it seems as though The Tragedy Paper was created solely based on a concept-leaving it's characters to fend for themselves, and try, almost desperately, to conjure up personalities or back stories in which to relate to.

There was an an abundance of build-up in this book. From the second I was introduced to Duncan Meade, and he made his way into this senior room and found the "treasure" left behind by the previous senior tenant, I was ready to flip to the back of the book to read the ending. It just seemed a tad frivolous and exhausting to have to read Tim's story through the ears of Duncan, like an annoying middle man, who's own story paled in comparison to what Tim trudged his way through. Tim Macbeth was one of those characters that I was drawn to instantly. Blame it on his innocence, or the fact that him being an albino was new and foreign-I settled into his mind, and enjoyed seeing things through his eyes. I wish the entire story was Tim's story.

I understood the importance of Duncan's story line, he was the guy behind the scenes, and in the end, he accomplished the things that Tim only strove to achieve in his mind. For this reason, I wish Duncan, and all of the characters in his timeline were given a larger voice, and larger personalities. Daisy, alike Vanessa, seemed a little too nonchalant for me. Considering their status as the "leading ladies" of the book, I hoped they would grow as the book progressed, but they did very little of that. However, I enjoyed Vanessa's wittiness, and take-charge attitude, but she didn't impress me beyond that.

The conclusion of The Tragedy Paper was definitely the downfall of this book. The author did a great job of building suspense (and frustration), throughout the book, dropping subtle hints and dialogue bits in reference to the "that horrible day." Though, when that day is finally recounted, I sat there thinking.."that's IT?". There was definitely TOO much build-up (if that's even a thing). I probably would have had a more positive reaction to the conclusion, had the author simply dropped it down a notch, only referred to the end perhaps once of twice. It definitely would have left room to concentrate more on fleshing out the story line, giving it more sustenance. All in all, I appreciated what she did with this book, and definitely caught the reminiscent feelings of reading Shakespeare in high school- I just wasn't crazy about it.

Recommended for: Fans of Shakespeare, romance, and contemporary.

Review quote

"An astonishing and beautiful read that is just dripping with atmosphere." -- Lindsay Foley Sugarscape "LaBan's debut - reminiscent of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why - compassionately illustrates the tragedy of withholding love and friendship, or worse, never having the courage to seek them out." Entertainment Weekly "Tim's first-person voice is a compelling combination of compassion and analysis, revealing his lifelong challenge of albinism, the unexpected romantic triangle he enters into, and choices that set in motion unfortunate events... A playful element infuses the story as tragic themes described in English class play out in the characters' dramas, adding texture to this strong debut." Publishers Weekly "Debut novelist LaBan takes us into the private school culture as well as the heads of two charming yet very different teenage boys and their parallel love stories ... Nonexistent parents, well-intentioned, likeable faculty on the periphery, elaborate dorm rooms with overstuffed closets, even the romantic, snow-covered campus all contribute to a setting that adds to the story's heft and intrigue." Starred Review, Booklist "This novel is relatable and unusually gripping, even for an older reader - full of slings and arrows and outrageous fortune. Readers should find themselves fairly ripping through the pages to uncover the mystery of what happened, and why ... Romantic love, hard work, loyalty, friendship, suffering: Like the great tragedies that inspired the novel, it's all here. LaBan's take on adolescent life is rendered in the sweet, intelligent tradition of John Irving, but without any of the prep-school genre's self-satisfaction. And in the end, this story is about more than personal failure (and triumph), or the nature of tragedy. It's also a story about art and how it can redeem us." The Philadelphia Inquirer

Editorial reviews

LaBan’s debut – remniscent of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why – compassionately illustrates the tragedy of withholding love and friendship, or worse, never having the courage to seek them out.