Sunday 20 April 2014

Book Review - Tape

Title: Tape
Author: Steven Camden
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
Release Date: 30 Jan 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0007511204

Record a voice and it lasts forever…

In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.

In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.
Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape.
This is their story.

My Review
I saw a blog post about this book and it looked really interesting, I then saw it advertised elsewhere saying it was a great new release and that it could be the 'next big thing'. I don't normally pick books by that recommendation but it looked good and sounded interesting so I admit I was curious, then my colleague at work requested it and said it was worth a read so I took it off her hands when she was finished.
This book is told from dual narrative - Ryan in 1993 whose mother has died and his dad has remarried bringing him a rather nice step-mother and a terror of a step-brother. He starts to record tapes to his mum as a way of getting over losing her, but then he meets a girl, a girl he likes and this is his story of coping with loss and finding first love. We then have Ameliah in 2003 whose lost both her parents and is now living with her nan, when going through her parents stuff she finds a box of old cassette tapes and starts to listen to them, amongst the music she finds one with a voice on, who seems to be talking to her, but who is he.
Ok, so the big link between the tapes and the people involved is pretty obvious - as soon as I had figured out who was who in the story I worked out the link, but I still wanted to know how they got to where they are now, I wanted to see how their stories played out.
My first reaction to the book was 'I have no idea what is going on', but I kept reading and after about 30 pages I had grasped the basics and started to like the characters and get a grasp on who was who.
I sat and read this in about 2 and a bit hours in one go - I couldn't put it down, partly because I wanted to know how it all turned out, but also because I was slightly worried I would lose track of what was happening if I put it down so I kept going.
This is a fairly sweet story, one where you just get to know the characters and see their story develop, but there isn't much more to it than that. There is no great revelation - well there is the connection between the characters, then the 'mysterious stranger' that turns up, but I figured both of those out pretty immediately so it wasn't a big surprise or anything. 
The synopsis also hints at a 'time-travel' sort of story and for one point in the story about 100 pages in Ameliah and Ryan do seem to communicate but it's over again in a second, there is one last connection to each other at the end but it's very brief and brushed over. 
If you want a book you can sit with and just get to know some characters and have a brief look into their lives then this is perfect, but if you want a really in depth story with development and excitment then I would look for something else.
But I did enjoy this book for what it was, it just wasn't earth shattering. It was sweet, sweet and simple.

My Rating

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