Published: June 14th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary Fiction
Date Finished: 4th February 2012
At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them.
Paper Cover’s Rock was another recommendation from the wonderful Richard Denney and let me tell you it was a fantastic novel.
All the way through it, it had these hints of things I have read and watched before and loved. It had that atmospheric flare of the Dead Poet’s Society with the friendships, the secrets and the looming anxiety of the truth and the affect that Thomas’s death has on them all.
I found Alexander’s character to be deeply fascinating and almost whimsical. His passion and curiosity with words and using them to explain and understand the world around him fascinated me and was deeply rich. I loved reading his journal and the way that the novel is set up with poems, and events written in both past and present time. I never once felt confused and I think it added something refreshing to the plot.
Some of the poems written in Paper Covers Rock make me want to post-it note them and write them in my own journal for inspiration and Jenny has certainly given Alexander the talent of a wordsmith. The symbolism and imagery was brilliant as was the exercises Miss Dovecott gave to the class. One of my favorite parts of the novel was being inside Alex’s shoes when he was learning and writing.
You don’t get to see a great deal of interaction between his friend and other staff, besides from the flashbacks, but there is enough to give you a sense of character and while I started to really dislike Glen I could understand the fear behind the event and his reaction to it.
Easily one book that I could read again I would definitely recommend Paper Covers Rock to fans of classical literature, avid readers, book lovers and those who like a little intensity. You will enjoy this novel if you want to take a break from the standard chapter to chapter format and if you are looking for something good to curl up with for a few hours.
If you have read this book and would like to share your experiences feel free to leave a comment.