PAPER COVERS ROCK by Jenny Hubbard (Delacorte 2011) is reminiscent of A SEPARATE PEACE, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, and THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. It is not derivative, though, it simply recognizes these stories and even acknowledges them in this smart, literate, story of a teen attending a private boarding school. Sixteen year old Alex is our narrator. As the novel opens, Alex witnesses the accidental drowning of one of his friends. Though whether or not this was an accident is a question raised early by Alex and the other student present at the time, Glenn. The novel weaves back and forward in time as Alex writes in a blank journal he keeps hidden in a copy of MOBY DICK (call him Is Male) in the library. Alex is a budding author, a splendid poet. His English teacher, who happened on the scene of the accident shortly after it occurred, encourages Alex to write about his feelings. Glenn, however, warns Alex that he could give away too much of what happened if they are not both careful. <459>
This was the second book I managed to read last week while waiting for various tests and doctor appointments. Being absorbed in Alex's story was so much better than what was going on in the waiting rooms around me!