Review: Tape by Steven Camden


TAPE is set to be the outstanding teen debut of 2014. Told with cracking prose, shimmering with humour and devastatingly moving, it will haunt anyone who reads it…

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.

– Goodreads Description

Thanks go to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK  for the review copy. 🙂

Tape has been on my radar since late March, and while it’s been out in the UK since January, it’s not due for release in the US for a few more months yet. (September 23rd) I was so excited to get approved for this title!

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the book at all. It couldn’t decide if it was a contemporary or a sci-fi – the two elements didn’t work together as they were so out of balance. I spent most of the time I was reading confused.

The formatting irritated me; the little graphics were gorgeous, but the way that speech was formatted was so confusing. You couldn’t tell who was speaking, when they started, when they stopped…

I was also irritated by the short, choppy passages before the point-of-view changed. It was like being on a rollercoaster ride – I was being whipped around from side to side, not really having a chance to catch my breath and work out where I was. I wanted to get a grasp on the story, and needed more time with each person to achieve that.

I didn’t like the characters – I couldn’t keep Ryan, Nathan and Liam apart. They all just merged into one for me. Ameliah and Heather were much better, although both were fairly distasteful characters to me. Ameliah’s life felt glossed over, when some pretty big things had happened to her.

I had the relationships pegged from the start; nothing in the book surprised me. The ending was incredibly disappointing as a result. It cut off kind of abruptly as well and I didn’t feel like Ameliah’s storyline was anywhere near wrapped up. I didn’t realise it was the end of the book, so when I realised my Kindle couldn’t go any further, I was surprised.

Ameliah and her story were the best part of Tape and I felt like it was pushed to one side; like it wasn’t important. Ryan’s storyline seemed to take precedence, and where his story ended, Ameliah was just cast aside.

I did love Ameliah’s storyline but I wanted so much more from it.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.  Disappointing


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