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PAPER COVERS ROCK by Jenny Hubbard


by Jenny Hubbard

Pub Date: June 14th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-74055-5
Publisher: Delacorte

It may take a village to raise a child, but a boys’ boarding school is a poor substitute, with its 24/7 peer culture and absentee parents “who pay shitloads of money to send their sons away.”

And when 17-year-old Thomas Edward Broughton, Jr. dies after diving off a rock in a spot on the river off limits to students, his friend Alex Stromm is left trying to make sense of the tragedy. He writes in the journal his father had given him two years before, an ambitious attempt at “the Not-So Great American Novel,” where he hopes that “through careful arrangements of words, order could be made from chaos.” His journal contains observations, rough drafts of letters, poems and homework essays. Readers may well wonder at Alex’s capacity to write this level of introspective prose, but the journal is a good vehicle for slowly revealing the layers of guilt, truth and deception in this tightly knit community. Hubbard’s fine debut skillfully portrays boarding-school life and a young man’s will to use words to keep himself afloat in that world.