Thursday, March 21, 2013

REVIEW: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Title:                       The Tragedy Paper
Author:                   Elizabeth Laban 
Release Date:      Jan 8/2013
Genre:                YA Contemporary
Publisher:           Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count:        312
Acquired:            NetGalley
Format:              Ebook
Read From:         March 2-18/2013
Goodreads:         ADD
Purchase:           Amazon/Indigo/The Book Depository

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 theirs.


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 his 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. 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 or 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 highschool- I just wasn't crazy about it.

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

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