The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy Paper

4.4 59
by Elizabeth LaBan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author, calls Elizabeth LaBan’s The Tragedy Paper “a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak.” 

It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a

Overview

Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author, calls Elizabeth LaBan’s The Tragedy Paper “a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak.” 

It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, 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, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.
 
Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Entertainment Weekly, January 4, 2013:
"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."

Starred Review, Booklist, November 15, 2012:
“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.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 8, 2013:
"This novel is relatable and unusually gripping, even for an older reader - full of slings and arrows and outrageous fortune...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."

HelloGiggles.com
"The Tragedy Paper is about how hard it can be not to belong, and how far we’ll go just to feel like we do. It’s an absolutely fantastic book."

School Library Journal, February 2013:
"Strong plotting and characterization make Tim and Vanessa come to life for readers as much as for Duncan, whose understanding of tragedy becomes almost overwhelmingly acute."

Booklist, February 2013:
"An engaging tale told by a boy rendered an outsider by his appearance, full of passion and almost unrequited love, signifying the heartbreaks and melodramas of high school."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013:
"An engaging tale told by a boy rendered an outsider by his appearance, full of passion and almost unrequited love, signifying the heartbreaks and melodramas of high school."

Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
School is back in session for Duncan Meade, a senior at Irving School. As a returning senior it is expected and tradition for seniors to complete what is called a “tragedy paper.” This is a dread for Duncan and the paper will be a big part of his grade. The twist to the tradition is that a senior before him would leave something behind. Duncan discovers a stack of CDs left by Tim Macbeth that slowly reveal a tragic story. Duncan learns that Tim Macbeth was an albino who had no friends but was close to his parents. His family planned to move soon but before that could happen Tim must spend his final semester of school in New York at Irving. When en-route to New York, a snow storm stranded the family. It was there that Tim met Vanessa. She is also was on her way to Irving School. She was popular and had a boyfriend. Although the connection Tim had with Vanessa was seemingly more than friendly, he did not let her know he would be at Irving School too. Duncan is glued to this story and when he is not listening to it he is constantly thinking about it. As the story unfolds regarding the relationship between Tim and Vanessa students, Duncan is finding that his connection could be his own tragedy paper. This book has three intertwining stories of solitude, love and tragedy. Readers will become attached to the characters and ultimately have a favorite. Readers will definitely understand why Duncan is hooked and cannot stop thinking about finishing the CDs. Readers, parents and teachers will find this story a great way to open up dialogue about people, personalities and differences and how we can embrace them. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard; Ages 12 up.
Publishers Weekly
The legend of a curse “that every year a senior would leave for some unforeseen reason” provides an eerie backdrop to this story set at Irving, a prestigious, tradition-laden boarding school. Foreshadowing and dramatic tension build through alternating, parallel narratives of two seniors in consecutive years, as details of a tragedy involving both boys gradually unfold. Duncan, occupying a room previously inhabited by recent graduate Tim, inherits Tim’s CD recordings describing “the words, the music, my downfall, as well as your perceived or actual role in it.” 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. Narrative transitions to Duncan’s third-person viewpoint are occasionally jarring; like Duncan, readers will likely find Tim’s senior year trials more interesting. As the relationship between the two characters becomes clearer, however, Duncan’s tale conveys greater dramatic resonance. 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. Ages 12–up. Agent: Uwe Stender, TriadaUS Literary Agency. (Jan.)
VOYA - Amanda Fensch
Duncan’s final year at the prestigious Irving School should go according to plan--get good grades, fall in love with his summer crush, and struggle through the dreaded Tragedy Paper assigned to every senior by Mr. Simon. Duncan’s year starts off sideways, though, when he is assigned the dreaded corner room and, worst of all, discovers a set of recordings left by the room’s previous inhabitant, Tim Macbeth. Tim’s story, in which Duncan played a small but pivotal role, is narrated by the tragic hero himself and forces Duncan to confront his own issues and construct the finest Tragedy Paper Irving School has ever seen. This coming-of-age story is unique in its telling and because of its lack of hurriedness. Slower books may not appeal to readers who are used to the overabundance of action thrillers in the young adult genre, but this is a beautiful and tragic story that should be given its time in the spotlight. Laban’s heroes are meant to be cheered and pitied, and the way their stories are handled is masterful. While the climax may not be as satisfying as the buildup, the individual stories of Duncan and especially Tim are meaty enough to keep readers pushing through to the very end. With plot and character construction similar to those of writers like John Green, and a hearkening to stories like The Dead Poet’s Society, this novel deserves a place on most library shelves. Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Boarding school students learn the consequences of poor decision-making. Last year at the Irving School—motto: "Enter Here to Be and Find a Friend"—something terrible happened. Readers will have to push through nearly 300 pages, narrated alternately by Tim Macbeth, a recently graduated senior who transferred to Irving for his final semester, and Duncan Meade, the current senior who inherited Tim's dorm room and with it, a stack of CDs containing Tim's reminiscences of that fateful school term, to find out what it was. Tim, a deeply self-conscious albino, spends an idyllic 18 hours stranded in Chicago with lovely fellow senior Vanessa en route to Irving and is totally smitten. Tim's hopes are dashed by Vanessa's commitment to her popularity and her current boyfriend, the loathsome and jealous yet handsome Patrick. Predictably, however, Tim goes along with Vanessa's furtive occasional advances, all the while whipsawing between his conviction that she cares for him and his crippling self-loathing. Duncan, meanwhile, is alternately transfixed and horrified by Tim's story, as he feels partly responsible for the terrible outcome of Tim, Vanessa and Patrick's love triangle and eventually hopes to mine it for his Tragedy Paper, Irving's multidisciplinary approach to a senior thesis. With his overreliance on obvious foreshadowing, debut author LaBan creates a mystery without thrills and parallel romances that lack any frisson. Readers will wonder, what was the point? Completely, sadly skippable. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307930484
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
02/11/2014
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
110,959
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Entertainment Weekly, January 4, 2013:
"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."

Starred Review, Booklist, November 15, 2012:
“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.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 8, 2013:
"This novel is relatable and unusually gripping, even for an older reader - full of slings and arrows and outrageous fortune...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."

HelloGiggles.com
"The Tragedy Paper is about how hard it can be not to belong, and how far we’ll go just to feel like we do. It’s an absolutely fantastic book, and I hope you guys will all check it out. Just maybe not when you have to go to work or leave the house."

School Library Journal, February 2013:
"Strong plotting and characterization make Tim and Vanessa come to life for readers as much as for Duncan, whose understanding of tragedy becomes almost overwhelmingly acute."

Booklist, February 2013:
"An engaging tale told by a boy rendered an outsider by his appearance, full of passion and almost unrequited love, signifying the heartbreaks and melodramas of high school."

Meet 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. 

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >