Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Paper Covers Rock - Jenny Hubbard

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Quite nice, I like how serious he looks. The title is pretty awesome and relevant too.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Ember
Page Count: 181 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Is Male, Alex, starts writing in the journal his father gave him at the beginning of the school year. He's started after one of his best friends dies. Is Male is not the most direct narrator however, and tells you many stories around his friend's death. Slowly in brief passages the truth of what happened at the rock comes out. Is Male didn't know the whole story, he still isn't sure what is true. His journal helps him through his journey though, helps him be okay.

So, I have never read Moby Dick. Like most people though, I have a general understanding of the story and I know the famous opening line. I really appreciated the comparisons between Alex's life and Ishamel's throughout this novel. Alex was a very likeable character. I felt for him, even if at times he was a little off. He's a teen boy and he fantasizes about his teacher and him being a couple. Not a strange thing, but something that some people might be uncomfortable with. This was set a few decades ago, but it's story is timeless. The only thing that makes you aware of the time period is the absence of technology. The kids actually talk to each other, fish, and hangout. They don't just play video games and text. It was nice to have a story written with a more personal and intimate feeling.

Not too often are journal-style novels written from a male perspective. I always have enjoyed this format, and it worked perfectly for this story. It allowed us to see everything unfolding from Alex's point of view. It makes the narrative the slightest bit unreliable though, because we only see what Alex chooses to tell. Alex does like direct quotes though, so what he does write has a feeling of truthfulness and accuracy.

Paper Covers Rock was an intensely interesting read. As I found out more of the situation surrounding the death, I was at first bored with how plain it seemed, but the more I read the more I found out. The death was more complicated then I could have imagined. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff happening at the boarding school, as I always imagine there is. If you have the chance to read this one, I highly suggest you do. It's a quick read you won't regret.

First Lines:
"Call me Is Male.
When my dad gave me this journal two years ago and said 'Fill it with your impressions,' I imagine he had a more idyllic portrait of boarding school life in mind."

Favorite Lines:
"Read to your heart's content. Though if you are a reader, the heart is never content."

"No ocean in sight, no wind or wing to carry me into the sky, far, far away."


  1. You're right about male PoVs and journal-style, they're not something we see often, but I did think of The Perks of Being a Wallflower while reading this.

    You have me intrigued about the death now and I really like the cover too!

  2. So happy to hear that you loved this one. The author is going to be at a book festival I'm attending next month and this is definitely on my list to buy.


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