Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: Tape by Steven Camden

Title: Tape
Author: Steven Camden
Publication: January 30th 2014
Format: Hardcover
Source: Signed Copy from the author (Thanks again Steven and Hannah!)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


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.

Misfit Review:

Tape is one of those books that can compete with so many other books out there because of its simplicity underrated beauty.

"Rewind. Play. I'm here. I always was."

The story starts off with Ameliah finding a box of things that her Mom had left after she died. She sees a tape and plays it. She hears a boy's voice that seems to be talking to her and so she leaves him a question. The boy, in all this whimsy, gets the question and is startled.

"We're both recording."
"Where are you?"
"In my room. Just like you."
"You are recording for her."

Tape is a story of fate and how individuals are connected with the most unusual or simplest of things. Ryan, in the novel, is a kid from the past who has to deal with his new family and the beautiful Eve who lives next door. Ameliah on the other hand lives with her Nan after her parents die and she has to adjust to a lot of things including her Nan, her crush and a man shrouded with mystery.

Their eyes met and for a second Ryan forgot where he was. He imagined if life was a film, this would be where he walked towards her slowly and she did the same and they'd meet in the middle of the kitchen and there was the sound of a key in the front door.

The characters in themselves are a breath of fresh air. Ryan is so cute and I especially loved reading his parts because it was sweet, funny and leaves anyone with the hint of nostalgia. His dynamic with his step brother Nathan is aggressive but works in most occasions. I love it when they do get along or when they exchange harsh comebacks at each other but really, it is their form of communication. His relationship with Eve is simple but fun. It is somehow shortly depicted in the book but you'd look forwards to those parts where they are actually together, talking about random things and drinking strawberry Nesquik. I loved this moment a lot. Ryan's character, again, is cute and subtle. He can get aggressive too but he's mostly laid back and seems to have it together most of the time. He shows a lot of maturity even in his young age.

This is what you did, sitting down and pressing record, and now it's gonna be what I do.
I'm talking into the speaker---how does it even work?

Ameliah, on the other hand, lives in the present with smart phones, TV shows but she's the type who likes to set off in an adventure of sorts. She's curious and open enough to her Nan. She seems to have a low tolerance to things and with her curiousness, leaves certain casualties to her.What I really loved about Ameliah is her witty humor and her somehow investigative side. Again, let the curiosity set in. She's a sweet girl with tons of questions. But I think she's trying too hard to answer the questions on her own without asking for help. She's also quite cute when she's flustered.

Though the characters are generally great, the story could've had more lift. It was simply beautiful, yes, but there were times when I just knew what was gonna happen. Though yes, there are revelations in the book, I felt like it wasn't meant to be a surprise for the reader. It somehow suggested that the reader could go on not finishing the book and he or she could still get the same ending he or she expected. But in many cases, the book was refreshing and sweet and just a total swoop out of a bad day. Steven Camden holds true to his spoken word roots by giving this novel a nice flair to it. Tape was a nice read around the time that I was really bored. It was easy, cheery and fun. And I do suggest you grab it sometime for a relaxing day out.

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Steven Camden is one of the most acclaimed spoken-word artists in the country. As Polarbear, he has performed extensively around the UK and internationally. He also writes plays, teaches storytelling in schools, and was a lead artist for Ministry of Stories and The Roundhouse poetry collective.

Check out my review archives page for other book reviews you may have missed. Also, tune in for a recent review in the coming days! YAAAY! :) Have a great September, Misfit Booknerds!

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