BOOKTALK//Tape by Steven Camden

TAPERecord 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.

This book was sent to me by HarperCollins in exchange for a review!

This book was first brought to my attention by an article in The Bookseller which I read and thought “colour me intrigued.” It next appeared on my radar when Phil Earle mentioned that he had received it, read it, and loved it on twitter. I now needed to get my grubby bookselling hands on a copy of this book.

I was fortunate enough to gather one at the end of January and I started reading it as soon as I finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. The book has barely left my hands since. In short, I thought it was astounding.

I’m going to be incredibly superficial just for a moment and tell you that the cover is absolutely stunning. The picture above does not do it justice at all, you really have to be holding that gorgeous hardback in your hand to understand just how much work has gone into making this hardback look absolutely fantastic.

Now onto the actual content.

Camden has created two incredibly distinct voices in Ryan and Ameliah, I can practically hear every word from each of them. In fact, it comes as no surprise that Camden is better known for his work as a Spoken Word performer as each character comes fully equipped with its own style and voice. It is a masterclass in writing believable and brilliantly formed characters.

The twists in the story were also incredibly compelling and shocking. Each one propelled the story forward and led me to another “Oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-that-but-it-totally-makes-sense-though” moment. It even had me crying at the end for many different reasons.

There are a great many things that this story is. It’s a love story, it’s a time travel story, it’s a coming-of-age story in two different time periods, it’s even a family drama, but above all else it is incredible and moving. I urge you to pick up a copy right this very second.



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