Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Summary/Cover from Publisher's Website:
Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Timesbestselling 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.
Review: 

When I originally heard about The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LeBan, I instantly added it to my wish list. It sounded like an emotional and compelling story. Better yet, I had been hearing some comparisons of it to books by John Green and Jay Asher, two of my favorite YA authors. Thankfully, The Tragedy Paper was a beautifully written and well executed coming of age that has landed Elizabeth LeBan on my "authors to watch" list.

The first aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the way in which it was told. Elizabeth LeBan intertwines the stories of Duncan and Tim by using third person POV for Duncan and voice recording/Thirteen Reasons Why style for Tim. At first, I was worried that it wouldn't work for the book, that I wouldn't be able to get a clear picture of everything occurring. However, as the story progressed, this method become one of my favorite parts. Elizabeth beautifully combined their stories, switching back and forth at the most perfect of moments. She also did a great job of fleshing out their stories on their own as well as bringing them together as one, and while Tim's story was my favorite, Duncan story was enjoyable as well.

Moving on, I really enjoyed the characters in this one. Duncan and Tim were boys who at the surface appear to be very different, but at the heart, are very similar. Both are looking for their place in a world where there doesn't seem one. They're both falling in love for the first time, and dealing with the pros and cons to that. They're learning to let go and live, and with that, learning that bad things happen to good people. Duncan and Tim were two characters I loved getting to know more about. They were both smart, determined, and sweet boys, and I feel that all teens as well as adults will be able to see parts of themselves as well as their high school experience in their characters as well as their friends. Better yet,  Elizabeth LaBan also introduced an amazing supporting cast in this one as well. I loved the addition of the high school English teacher. He was an interesting main, and I teacher I know I would have loved to have in real life. I also enjoyed reading more about Vanessa, Tim's love interest, and Daisy, Duncan's love interest. While the former of the two plays a bigger part in the book, I enjoyed reading about both of them equally and felt both added wonders to the book.

The plot in this was also captivating and well-done. As mentioned above, I loved the method in which it was told, and through that method came a lot of suspense as well as twists and turns. Throughout the book, I was constantly curious to see how everything would play out. I knew from the start something tragic happened to Vanessa and Tim, and while it was hinted to slowly, I never knew exactly what happened to the very end, which lead to a lot of wonderment and suspense on my part. I also enjoyed that the main part of this book was about growing up and learning to let go and move on. Tim and Duncan were two boys who had faced a lot in the last year, and through their story a lot of emotional and personal growth was made, making it a huge as well as essential part of the book.

In all, The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LeBan is a gem of a book! I highly, highly recommend that all of you give this book a try, especially those of you who enjoy contemporary novels, ones specifically in style of Green or Asher. However, word of warning: set apart a good amount of time to read this one, because once you start it, it's hard to let go.

Grade: A+

The Tragedy Paper (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publicist- thanks Emily! 

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