by Elizabeth LaBan
This was hands-down one of the most exciting Galleys I've read this year, and it wasn't even my genre! All of my bookmates in the club agreed with me, and I think together we can say that this book will be big. Enormous. Massive. This is the next thing. Every once in a while a book comes along that makes me supremely grateful I joined YA Galley two years ago, and this is one of them.
The most delicious elements of this book are the quirky and contorted nature of the plot, which is mirrored in the beautiful writing. LaBan's writing has all the obsessively polished charm a debut novel tends to present, but she makes it seem effortless and graceful. Often a debut novel is defensive right off the press, going all out in order to get noticed, but The Tragedy Paper needed none of this posturing. It's fresh, appealing, achingly relatable, and subtly perfect. LaBan creates characters with problems and strengths at once; every character has a history, a psyche, desires, and dreams. While her plot has the potential to be oh-so-clichéd, she pulls it off with refreshing aplomb and the end result is like nothing I've seen before. The private school, the wealthy students, the perfect girl, and the self-conscious albino... her ability to make this combination original portends great skill and I cannot wait to read her works in the future. Running through the whole story is a chilling frisson of imminent tragedy. Best of all, this book runs on a literary device, one I haven't ever seen successfully used before. If nothing else, read this book to expand your literary horizons. And the cover's beautiful too...
I would give this book a solid 5. It isn't the most amazing book I've ever read, but that in no way means it doesn't merit the highest praise; I have, after all, read some stunning novels. This book is right up there. It's a fresh, beautiful, crisp citrus granita served with sprigs of mint and the subtlest whispers of the hibernal Alps, a glorious and fragile respite from the pounding dullness of the summer heat.