My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read The Tragedy Paper for the Debut Author Challenge. I really enjoyed it – as much as you can enjoy a story in which you know from page one something terrible is going to happen, I guess – and as interesting as the characters were, it was wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery of what happened that kept me reading.
One of our narrators, Tim, is an albino, which was an interesting character quality, and plays a major part in the mysterious events that are alluded to throughout the book. I felt like this could’ve been developed a little more, though. Tim kept talking about being alienated because everyone thought his albinism was “weird,” but I never really saw evidence of this in the book; while he mostly keeps himself apart, the times he did interact with his peers, it never really came up at all.
Our other narrator is Duncan, who is a student a year younger than Tim and who was there the night the aforementioned mysterious incident occurred. Listening to Tim’s side of the story impacts him and makes him feel guilty – so one thing that he needs to do in the book is learn to confront and let go of his guilt. For the most part this was done well, although the ending happened so fast, the letting go of his guilt part wasn’t really developed as well as the confronting the guilt had been. Also, I wish we could’ve seen more of Duncan’s story, since the story was just as much about him as it was about Tim and Vanessa.
Speaking of Vanessa…not a fan. I couldn’t really get a good read on her – did she actually like Tim? Why would Patrick have so much reason to be jealous of Tim, anyway? I had a lot of issues with how she treated Tim throughout the book, and I felt so bad for Tim because he was so desperate for attention that he just put up with it.
Overall, I really liked The Tragedy Paper, although it was more for the plot and the tragedy theme (which an interesting lens to tell this story through) than it was for the characters.