Main Death By Newbery Medal Discussion

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01:57:51 PM Oct 11th 2013
edited by
Here are some examples that are for teens rather than preteens/children, thus not really fitting this trope
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. It's the sort of book where you pretty much know what's going to happen but cry anyway. Anyway, the trope is used a great deal more sincerely in this book than in most others, and there's more depth, too.
  • John Green's Michael L. Printz Award winning book Looking for Alaska features an nerdy young teen who goes to a boarding school and meets a beautiful, adventurous girl with green eyes named Alaska. She has issues about her dead mother, so she drinks and smokes a lot and drives a beat up old car with bad brakes. You can see where this is going.
  • The Book Thief: we are warned from the beginning that lots of bad stuff will happen to everyone around the main character (it's set in World War II Germany, after all); the ending is still horrible, including an element of Shoot the Shaggy Dog with the loss of characters who have so far had narrow escapes against all odds.
  • In a straight example, the forest boy Tacit would mourn the death of his fiery-haired, lame-of-leg friend in the last chapter. But this is a subverted example, for that friend is Peter David's Sir Apropos of Nothing, and he would eventually steal Tacit's destiny out from under him.
  • Susan Hill's Strange Meeting has the altogether too perfect David Barton, who (as per convention) doesn't make it to the end of the book.
  • Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole, pretty much a perpetual adolescent, finally grows up (at the age of 35!) when his son's army buddy is killed in action in Basra.
  • A double whammy in Surrender by Sonja Hartnett. In flashbacks; we find out that 1) as a young boy, our protagonist accidentally killed his only childhood friend, his mentally ill brother, and 2) near the end of the book, that his parents forced him into shooting his dog, who has been present throughout the book, just as a ghost, or imagined by the main character.

10:19:37 PM Jan 17th 2013
edited by Waterlily
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, the 1956 Newbery Medal winner, has tons of deaths. Many happen when he`s young but others also do when he`s an adult. They include (and I don`t think this is even all of them): his mother, his grandmother, his (favorite) sister, his brother in law, his brother and his wife.

However, none of them are really that significant to Nathaniel Bowditch`s maturity. Since it was set around the turn of the eighteenth century and many of the characters were sailors, the deaths seemed to just be treated as a fact of life.

Would this be played straight, a subversion, an aversion or not worth mentioningÉ
12:16:10 PM May 26th 2012

Does "Simon Birch" count as an example of this trope in film? The movie goes on at length about Simon having severe congenital health problems and an unshakable belief he has some great destiny. Needless to say they drop the bridge on him right after he has his moment of heroism (despite the fact he was physically uninjured in the Bad Stuff) I think it was at least nominated for an Oscar too.
06:01:48 PM Dec 16th 2011
I forget, did anyone die in the book version of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH? It's been awhile since I've read it.
07:26:14 PM Dec 10th 2011
12:45:04 PM Aug 31st 2010
edited by Twilightdusk
As Madrugada pointed out:

"Death By Newbery Medal is accumulating examples that are just "someone dies". I've cleared out all I could identify, but I don't know enough about the video games, in particular, to identify bad examples. As I read the trope, the criteria for Death By Newbery Medal are

  • slice of life
  • coming of age
  • friend, best friend, animal or family member dies
  • to boost the main character toward adulthood.

/Maddy quote.

I'm going to go through the examples and weed out those that don't fit. If you feel I made an error in a removel please indicate why you think so here or in the Trope Repair Shop Discussion before putting it back. Thank you for your cooperation.
07:36:21 PM Aug 31st 2010
The following example had no explanation and I've not played that game:

If you put it back, please elaborate.
07:49:59 PM Jun 25th 2010
ok best picture ever
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