YA Favorite: The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy PaperThe Tragedy Paper (©2013) is the enthralling debut novel by Elizabeth LaBan. The book follows the story of Tim, a high school senior and recent transfer to a prestigious boarding school. Tim, an albino, feels like he will never be accepted by his peers. But when he connects with Vanessa, one of the most popular girls at his new school, things begin to change.

The events of Tim and Vanessa’s senior year are told through a series of audio recordings left behind for Duncan, a current senior living in Tim’s old dormitory. Duncan listens intently to Tim’s tale, waiting nervously to hear the details of the tragic event that connects them.

I picked up this book after hearing it compared to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and John Green’s Looking for Alaska, a comparison I agree with completely. The dual-narrative style, with one half told through recordings, is very similar to Asher’s drama. The setting (a boarding school) and many of the characters will appeal to fans of Alaska.

I went into the book with no expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. Knowing how eager Duncan is to hear Tim’s story makes the reader eager to hear Tim’s story. The ending is a tad anti-climactic compared to the amount of tension leading up to it, but this was still a wholly enjoyable read.

This book is a rare find for modern young adult literature in that it’s free of coarse language, sexual content, and any other R-rated material. As such I would deem it appropriate for readers as young as 12.

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