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May 15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Titles similar to Paper Covers Rock
At the beginning of his junior year of high school, Alex loses a good friend to an accidental—and drunken—death, and by the end of that first semester, he has lost his moral innocence as well. After Alex’s friend dies, he retreats emotionally while also allowing his new, young, and pretty English teacher to coax out his poetic abilities. Meanwhile, Glenn, another student and former friend, tortures Alex with doubts about Alex’s own motives related to both the dead boy and the English teacher, encouraging Alex to question his very self. Although Alex knows that his admiration for the teacher is fanciful and not connected to the fact that she may have witnessed certain events related to the death, he recognizes that he is socially outclassed by the powerful Glenn. Can Alex muster the will to counter Glenn’s manipulations to oust the teacher? Both plotting and characters are thoroughly crafted in this stellar first novel. The poetry that Hubbard produces from Alex’s pen is brilliant, and the prose throughout is elegant in its simplicity. Although the novel takes place in the early 1980s, it could indeed unfold at almost any time, and its boarding-school setting is specific yet accessible to readers in any school setting. Reminiscent of John Knowles’ classic coming-of-age story, A Separate Peace (1959), this novel introduces Hubbard as a bright light to watch on the YA literary scene.