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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Play or Not to Play: that is the question, December 27, 2012
This review is from: The Tragedy Paper (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As part of its traditions, graduating seniors at the Irving boarding school gift incoming seniors a present. Given that some are lucky enough to receive Yankees' tickets, stock options or aged bourbon, Duncan is disappointed to learn that his present is a stack of CDs. After all, who listens to CDs any more? Plus he's just gotten the worst room in the dorm - the one that weird albino kid lived in last year.

But it turns out that they tell the story of a tragedy that happened last year to two students, narrated by Tim Macbeth, the aforementioned albino. Once he starts, Duncan can't stop listening. What will Vanessa, the girl Tim meets when stranded at an airport, say once she finds out that they are bound for the same destination: Irving? Is Patrick, Vanessa's boyfriend, a psychopath with a split personality or does he just have a weird sense of humor? Is Vanessa leading Tim on with her cryptic flirting after he arrives at school, or does she really have feelings for him? And when it comes to the senior Game, in which Patrick enlists Tim to organize a risky sledding trip, how far are the rules being bent when it comes to choosing participants? Finally, will all this material give Duncan enough for him to ace his own "Tragedy Paper," which all seniors are required to hand in as a graduation requirement?

The book started out intriguingly and I was charmed by the dynamics between Vanessa and Tim pre-Irving arrival. I appreciated that the author framed the book as a mystery and didn't give everything away in a prologue the way some do. The school itself, despite mentions of drugs, seemed like a great place to spend your adolescence, kind of like Hogwarts with its superb food and cool traditions. If there was one issue, it was that things slowed down once the characters reached Irving and the pace dragged. However, I would recommend it for young adults who enjoy novels set at boarding school, especially if there's a mystery to solve.
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