Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Book: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
Genre: YA
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review
From: ARC from NetGalley (release date Jan. 8, 2013)

This was one of those take a chance books. I knew nothing about it or its author, but it became available, so I said... "why not" and downloaded.

And once I started reading, I couldn't stop! It was a perfect book to get sucked into while on our crazy little trip this past week. I read all the way home. Loved it!

It's about two boys who attend a boarding school in New York. When one boy, Duncan, arrives for his senior year, he finds out he's inherited the room of the other boy, Tim, who lived there the year before. The tradition is for the previous occupants of the rooms to leave a "treasure" of some kind for the new students. Duncan's treasure from Tim is a set of recordings wherein he recounts the events of the previous year.

And of course we know, from the very beginning,  that it involves some sort of tragedy. I must love books where that happens, where the anxiety to find out what's going to happen just gets bigger and bigger as the book goes on.

All of this is tied to the fact that the well loved English teacher at this school requires his students to write a tragedy paper where they have to discuss all the points of what makes up a tragedy. It's all about thinking deep and pondering life, really. But who knew they'd have to be part of a real live one!

The story is from both boys points of view. We are following Duncan's experiences as he begins his senior, and then we are listening, along with Duncan, to Tim's CDs. I was especially sucked into Tim's story. I loved his voice and his unique problems (he's shy and quiet, and an albino) and his humble heart. Duncan was great too, but it was Tim I really fell for.

When I got home from the trip there was my EW magazine waiting for me. I was so excited to see that The Tragedy Paper was featured in it, but it made me wonder if the reviewer had even READ the book! He got an extremely key point TOTALLY wrong! Ugh, it made me crazy. Here's the link to this brief little mention, but guess what... the major big bad goof has been fixed for this online version! Wow, it really makes me wonder what was said to this dude. And it makes me wonder how often the little blurbs we read about books are totally off... and like I said, if the reviewer has even read the book. Strange little side story there I just had to share. (If you read the book and remember to ask me I'll share what this goof was. But otherwise I can't... too spoilery!)

Anyway, bottom line: I totally enjoyed this book! (Which took me quite by surprise!)

Other Reviews:

There’s mystery, comedy, romance, and action that will leave you curious and hooked. From LittleBookStar

I want to talk about the atmosphere, as it makes the book. It is stunning- a combination of raw emotion, the feel of swirling snow, and a controlled chaos. From The Page Sage

If you read and enjoyed books like Thirteen Reasons Why, Looking for Alaska, and The Year of the Gadfly, this is definitely a book you should add to your shelf. From Writer Quirk

With its evocative, literary writing and true teen voice, The Tragedy Paper is an impressive debut. From Sarah Laurence


  1. I've seen so many good reviews of this recently, shame it's now gone from Netgalley! I will have to wait for the paperback to be released so I can afford to buy it over here

    Cait x

  2. I've never heard of this one, but it sounds really good. I'll have to see if I can snag myself a copy from somewhere. Thanks for the rec!

  3. sounds interesting, not sure I would have picked it up, but your response of pleasant surprise at the impulse appeals to me.

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

  4. Seriously just read about this today in Entertainment Weekly -- glad you liked it!! Going on my TBR list!!

  5. This one sound really good. I've never heard of it before, though. I'm thinking that might actually be a good thing.



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