Holiday Book Showcase: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Welcome to another edition of the Holiday Book Showcase!
Have you heard of a young adult novel called The Tragedy Paper? It’s written by Elizabeth LaBan and was published this year by Knopf Books. The Tragedy Paper has strong winter themes and is a perfect book to showcase during December.Thankfully the lovely author, Elizabeth LaBan was kind enough to guest post today on the role that winter plays in her book. She also sent me a fantastic excerpt to share with you today!
The Tradegy Paper
Book Blurb: 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 love.

Excerpt from The Tragedy Paper


She was already wrapping a green scarf around her neck and pulling on her coat. When I didn’t move, she stopped and looked at me.

“I’m not going to give up,” she said. “If you don’t come, I guess I’ll just go alone. You know that book If You Give A Moose A Muffin? Well, in this case. If You Give A Girl A Pancake in a Snowstorm…I am unstoppable.”

shellWinter in The Tragedy Paper: Thoughts from Elizabeth LaBan

One of the themes running through The Tragedy Paper is the idea that the universe is out of whack and normal rules don’t apply. The best way I could think of to illustrate that was with snow storms. I think it happens to all of us when it snows a lot, normal life is suspended and something else takes its place. Just this week we had a snow day. In the end it did not snow as much as was predicted, but we switched from our usual weekday mode to an almost vacation day mood – everyone home, lunch out at our favorite deli, trekking through the snow in the city square just a few blocks north of us, throwing snow balls through a strung-up Christmas wreath. And when it is an even bigger storm and everything stops, the mood shifts even more either to lots of excitement or even worry about what it might mean (no travel, no power?). So with the snow comes the good and the possibly bad.

Tim’s story begins and ends with a snow storm – two different storms that bring different outcomes. If his flight had not been delayed that fateful January day, he would have arrived at the Irving School knowing nobody but the headmaster. He might have recognized Vanessa in the halls as the girl who was on his plane – but would he have talked to her? Probably not.At the same time, the snow brought out something in Vanessa that Tim would not have seen without it. Toward the end of the book the second storm also brings excitement along with a sense of doom. I loved writing the dinner scene the night of that second storm – again, everything was suspended. Food was put out for students to take when they wanted it, the English teacher Mr. Simon baked the brownies, Tim’s feet got wet from all the melted snow so he ate barefoot.

There is supposed to be a snow storm again tomorrow. I find myself constantly checking the weather, hoping for the worst. We don’t have to go anywhere, and we live in the city so really how bad could it be? But there is just something about a snow storm…

Buy The Tragedy Paper (hardcover) on Amazon

Buy The Tragedy Paper (paperback) on Amazon

Buy The Tragedy Paper (e-book) on Amazon

Buy the Tragedy Paper on Barnes & Noble

Add the Tragedy Paper on Goodreads

shellAbout Elizabeth LaBan

elizabeth labanElizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf in January 2013, is her first young adult novel. She is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications, as well as the author of The Grandparents Handbook which was published by Quirk Books.

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