The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LabanThe Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

The Tragedy Paper

byElizabeth Laban

Paperback | February 11, 2014

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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.
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.
Title:The Tragedy PaperFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:February 11, 2014Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307930483

ISBN - 13:9780307930484


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Worth the TIme I feel bad giving this book two stars, but it was just okay. It was just one big meh-fest. I mean, it started out okay, and I was excited, although my niggling sense that I was gonna dislike the main first-person narrator proved true. (More on that later, maybe). And then it just kept being okay...and I breezed through, and it was still just okay...and then it was over and I didn't really care about any of it, really. Maybe because it felt really short. Maybe because the plot told me it covered months but that was just it - it told me, and I had no real sense of time passing. Show me, don't tell me. And it was rather anticlimactic. The main character felt a bit contrived and made so many poor choices - or just non-choices - that when it was over I honestly didn't care what happened to him. And it just sort of ends, without really knowing what happened to him. I guess my main issue with this book was that it was geared up to make you think about tragedy, and it implied this deep meaning behind what was going on, but I didn't see it and couldn't be made to care. It was like we just wandered through these normal people's lives and then wandered back out without really getting to know them or caring about what happened to them. The "deeper meaning" was lost on me because I didn't really care at all about either the characters or the plot. Maybe it's just me. Maybe you would be drawn in. I just wasn't.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Tragedy Paper This novel was something of an anomaly for me. LaBan drew me in with her unique and well thought out storyline, but lost me with her characters (more on this in a moment). Her well-developed yet subtle descriptions allow this world to unfold before you. The intertwining storylines definitely give you something to think about. Also, the sense of suspense and mystery really drew me to this story. It kept drawing me back, needing to know what started it all. It was like the silence after a snowstorm. I personally would have enjoyed more characters development in this novel. LaBan gets off to a good start, but once we know the basics about the characters we find out little else. This is the type of story that needs well developed 3D characters to carry it forwards. Without that, the sense of tragedy becomes somewhat light. As a whole, this novel was enjoyable but I just couldn`t quite connect with the characters.
Date published: 2014-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gorgeous and Powerful. From the first chapter in, this made me think of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. It was so similar, and the idea wasn't exactly the same, but there was a total resemblance. This book made me feel so happy and excited, even though it was a total tragedy. From the beginning, the author made it seem like a total replica, and this made me afraid because I didn't want the exact same book and idea as Jay Asher's astonishing novel that has stunned millions. Later on, Elizabeth LaBan made her idea/concept clear, and the book revolved to its own world and it went a different direction than I thought it would. The idea was bittersweet and captivating. The Plot: One word- amazingfluffiness. I loved it and it was written so differently than other contemporary-tragedy stories. This had some meaning and something upsetting behind it, but it felt so powerful and it sent a message across to all of us, all in different ways and outcomes. I was never bored (only in Duncan's POV at times) with this, and I would read it over and over again if someone begged me to. The ending hit me hard, I have to say it. It was unexpected, although I did know that a tragedy would occur sooner or later, just look at the cover. It's too mysterious and dark to be a fun-loving sweet chick-lit contemporary. And there you go, I predicted for something huge and upsetting to occur, but nothing like this. CHARACTERS- Tim: I surprisingly really adored this guy, he has to be my favourite character out of all of them. Tim had a soul, he was real and special to me unlike Vanessa, who you'll hear about in a minute. Although Tim was the popular top-notch guy that we all have in our schools or constantly read about, he had that something about him, and I loved him too much to see his dark side at times. Duncan: I wouldn't describe Duncan as a character who had a personality that felt real. This guy was boring and I didn't like how he had his own POV. If Vanessa had her own POV, maybe I would've liked her better and find out about the real her. I completely understand that the author tried to create some sort of "past and present POV relation," but I didn't like it. It was too confusing, and reading Duncan's POV just bored me at times, because he's really a boring person looking for some sort of adventure that he didn't get. He brought on the legacy of the Tragedy Paper, and that's all. Vanessa: Byeee. I don't want ya here, understood? Vanessa was a really bad character, all of the suffering and problems were about her, and this "chick" didn't even realize it. She was so into her "fab world" to even realize that people were stressing out because of her. Maybe none of this would've occurred if she didn't meet Tim in the first place, but I guess you could say that fate has its plans. Meh. Romance: This book included a very sweet and cute romance. It was awesome to read about it because the characters had so much passion and love for each other... Tim and Vanessa were a perfect match, despite Vanessa's dumb decisions. But, they attracted one another and I love where it picked off at in the end, even though things happened. You feel as if the romance is going on forever, even after the book has ended. Romances like this rarely occur, and this book just had it. Side Thoughts and Overall: If I Stay and Thirteen Reasons Why. This book is a mix of those two, with a little more spice and different ideas. But they're all going at the same thing here. If you adored those two as much as I did, then The Tragedy Paper will certainly please you and your high stern book standards.
Date published: 2014-05-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much build-up for such a mediocre conclusion 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 this 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 (if that's even a thing). 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 of 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 high school- I just wasn't crazy about it. Recommended for: Fans of Shakespeare, romance, and contemporary.
Date published: 2013-04-02

Editorial Reviews

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.""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."From the Hardcover edition.