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SA Bodeen Reads

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The Tragedy Paper

The Tragedy Paper - Elizabeth LaBan Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. 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, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.


So first, I must admit that the albino part piqued my interest. I read this in one afternoon, and I really enjoyed it. I found Tim's story to be more compelling than Duncan's, even though Duncan was the main character. Tim tells his story on CD's listened to by Duncan ( I'm sure there will be comparisons to Thirteen Reasons Why because of that) which works pretty well. There is an intimate feel that way, like Duncan is getting to know Tim as the reader is. The two do share a secret, and the tension builds to the end as the secret is finally revealed. I've always been a fan of books set on the grounds of boarding schools, probably because that seems so foreign and intriguing to me, and the setting added a lot to this. I think teens will enjoy this one.