The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
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?
Sometimes I come across a book that makes it hard to write a review and to put your finger on. The Tragedy Paper is one of those books for me. It is not your standard Young-Adult fantasy, no swashbuckling action or the likes but it is fascinating and captivating story. Also it is the author's, Elizabeth LaBan, first book. The Tragedy Paper blends literature and a journey of discovering yourself into one classic love-story. Whenever I put the book down to do something else I immediately got the urge to pick it up again and find out what would happen next in the book.
As I mentioned the Tragedy Paper is a love story and a story of self discovery. I must first praise the author on how the story was written and there are actually two story lines, one that you hear being told by Tim Macbeth and the other that you see through Duncan Meade. So what is The Tragedy Paper exactly? It has both a reference on the whole book but also is an assignment that both Tim and Duncan have to make for their English class. A Tragedy Paper describes, as the name implies, a tragedy and can go many ways as you might expect, students have to describe and explain a tragic event but this can of course be interpreted in many ways - is it a literary tragedy and the like? Also there are keywords to use: magnitude, irony, tragic and much more. This paper counts as a thesis for the students semester.
Okay, so that is the meaning of a Tragedy Paper, let's look at the story itself. It is based on a tragic event that happened in Duncan’s junior year at Irving. Now a year has passed and Duncan has been made a senior and as a rule the previous years seniors give up their dorm room and leave a treasure for the follow-up senior. This can range from a bottle of wine, a bag of M&M’s or even a pet. Duncan is assigned Tim's room and by this he gets to know more about Tim’s senior year and what really happened. Duncan finds his treasure spoken on several CD’s that he start listening as soon as he finds out.
Tim is an albino and has by this never really fitted in anywhere, as you hear his narration on the CD’s. You get to form an image about Tim, that he is really attached to his mother and his stepfather and that he is not always that comfortable around new people. This all changes as he meets Vanessa. From this moment all the rules that normally applied to Tim’s life vanish and he does everything to get Vanessa for himself. Yet there is one problem, her boyfriend Patrick. Tim narrates how everything went for him and Vanessa, his high points but also the low points, also his encounter with Patrick and how he still feels outside. One point to be said is that I actually thought that this would turn into a dark story for Tim in the end, there was a mention of blood early on in the snow and events that happened at the end of the year so I actually thought something deadly would happen to Tim… All in all Tim’s story was compelling and heart-breaking and he was shown with such an innocence that I started to feel for him and just wished that everything would turn out for the better between him and Vanessa. That is enough said about Tim, now for Duncan.
Though Duncan's story is less elaborate than Tim’s it is still pretty large, mostly due to the fact that both their stories are connected to each other. Events that happened in Tim’s story affected Duncan in a negative way. Like I mentioned, there was a tragic event at the end of the year that left Duncan scarred. And now he is still reliving those events and he feels sorry for all that happened. Duncan also had a girlfriend, Daisy, but it all turned out differently. But actually due to The Tragedy Paper of Tim that he is listening to he learns more and more about what really happened last year and he has also a more important lesson to be learned. The focus was still more on Tim’s side but with using Duncan as a medium both the stories were more compelling to read about.
The Tragedy Paper shows a great interconnection of two story lines. They are both about finding love but also on how difficult it sometimes can be and how hard when it is all of a sudden over, on how you try to do your best and it may still not be enough and a journey of getting to know yourself. The Tragedy Paper is a great debut and shows an amazing forte for writing this utterly unique and compelling story.
This The Tragedy Paper book review was written by Jasper de Joode
Have you read The Tragedy Paper?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Tragedy Paper reader reviews
Tori from US
I loved this book! It had joy, sadness, humor, love, and heartbreak. I'd suggest it to anyone with a reading lexile of 850 to 1200! I love this book!!
9.6/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over t...
The Dark is Rising Sequence
On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is ...
Three Hearts and Three Lions
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realm...
His name is West. Her name is Cally. They speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, but they do not know that. What they do know...
The Abhorsen Chronicles
Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. Af...
The Chrestomanci Series
Diana Wynne Jones
Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth an...
It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core o...
Charlie Keeper has been forced from her home by a bloodthirsty and terrifying stranger. But in escaping she discovers her house holds the gateway to the Realm of Bellania -...
The Very Best of Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint, a fantasy author who has left the same mark on the genre of myth and legend much as the likes of Sir Thomas Malory, Christian Anderson, Grimm, who has foun...
The Testament of Tall Eagle
John R Fultz
A young warrior's vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle's people, night-crawling devils sta...
Out of Oz
The marvellous land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on...
Alif the Unseen
G Willow Wilson
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocr...
After an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth, John Bridgeman is left to scrap out a solitary existence, surrounded by bodies and haunted by the girlfriend he cannot allow to ...
R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass - remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone - are wonders ...
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended parallel universe / Alternate reality books
Best of 2016
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through......
Paternus: Rise of Gods
Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth. When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old m...
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, wher...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...