Sunday, April 1, 2012

Paper Covers Rock By Jenny Hubbard

Set in an all boys boarding school in 1982 after a tragedy has happened:  4 boys are goofing off and drinking down at a near-by lake when one dives in from a tall rock, hits his head, and drowns.  Alex (our main guy) is racked with guilt about not saving his friend.  He starts to write down what happened and what is happening in the aftermath... (and about his crush on the English teacher, and his dream of being a writer.)  Clay already took the fall for the alcohol, but Glenn and Alex aren't sure that it's completely over, especially when the female English teacher starts asking questions.  Alex also starts questioning whether Glenn's paranoia is really just about the alcohol, or is there more to it?? 

This was a hard one for me to review.  On one hand I can totally see why it was nominated for the William C. Morris Award for Debut Authors.  The writing in it is really great.  Almost too good for YA.  But on the other hand, did I really like the actual story?  I don't know.  I mean it was okay, but did it really go anywhere?  I feel like nothing really changed from beginning to end.  I'm left with the same feeling about Alex, and I feel like he hasn't moved on either. 
There were also two other things I didn't quite get.  First, it's set in 1982, but I don't really see why.  Unless it was the author didn't want cell phones in the story.  But then it could've been 1990 or 1970, so I don't see why 1982?  There weren't many 80's references, so maybe the author just felt like it was a simpler time back then?  Well anyhow it had me confused.  The 2nd thing was all the gay references.  I still don't really know who was gay and who wasn't.  Everyone was afraid of being labeled gay, so they had to go all out to show they weren't.
Basically I thought it was a beautifully written book, but I guess I wished there was more closure at the end.  The author never said if what was suspected of Glenn was actually true.  And did Miss Dovecott really have feelings for Alex like he did her?  She went on and on about how he was special, but did that romantic line get crossed in her mind?  There were just too many questions, and Alex still has another whole year there where he has to see and deal with Glenn.  I just didn't like the feeling I got after I was finished at all.  I think it would've been better if the book was Alex writing about this incident as a grown man looking back.  Then all the adult-like prose would've made more sense, and maybe we would've found out more about what really happened, or at least had a perspective of someone who has had the time to reflect on it.
This is definitely a reader's novel.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't love reading because it is full of symbolism and other literary stuff.  While it is fairly short, it's not a quick read because of those things.

Add it to your to-read list!!


How I got this book: Library
Date Published: 6/14/2011

1 comment:

  1. Never heard about this book before. Thanks for review:)