Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ARC Review: Tape by Steven Camden

Title: Tape
Author: Steven Camden
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 30 January, 2014
Source: HarperCollins Australia. Thank you!

Goodreads rating: 2.67 out of 5.00 (10+ ratings, pre-release)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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.

Review by Nara

Before I start my actual review, can I just say that the ARC of Tape is one of the prettiest books I have EVER seen. I'm just going to casually include a few photos so you can all bask in its beauty hehe.

They honestly ought to just keep the ARC design for the finished copy. So much prettier :3

Okay, I'll stop fawning over the ARC and start the review. Unfortunately, it's not going to be a particularly favourable one. If I were to describe this book in one word, that word would be: BORING. Why is it so boring, you ask? Because NOTHING INTERESTING HAPPENS. Seriously. The entire book seems to be about the everyday life of two people who are really not interesting people to read about. I mean, sure, they're everyday people, so maybe some people will be able to connect with them, but geez.

Another criticism that I have is that the dialogue was, at times, confusing. There was a lack of quotation marks- instead the dialogue was written like so:
- It said your mom's name?
- Yeah.
- That is pretty weird, I mean timing wise, right?
And so it was often a bit confusing as to who was speaking. Another thing, when the characters were thinking, the author would also utilise the dashes, so at times it was difficult to tell whether a particular character was talking or thinking.

And god, the plot was predictable. There were two main "twists" but they were so ridiculously obvious, you could see them from a mile away. Plus, one of them was kind of spoilered in the blurb. Also the twists weren't even that interesting. I get that this is a contemporary and therefore, you know, the twists aren't likely to be murders or a discovery of a secret underground tape communication society or whatever, but these twists were just so bland.

Yet another thing I really didn't appreciate was the lack of explanation about how the two characters communicated through the tape. Fairly early on, Ryan and Ameliah somehow talk to each other through a tape- when they both press record "at the same time", they're able to speak to each other. So, you know, sometimes it's just a tape and sometimes it's a communication device. First, it shouldn't matter when they press record because they're in different time periods. "At the same time" should really be ANY time because when Ameliah presses record, she should just be able to communicate with Ryan at the particular time that he was recording that section that Ameliah is recording over (if that makes any sense at all lol). So I really didn't understand why Ameliah was sometimes unable to make contact with Ryan. Ugh. And WHY? HOW? WHERE ARE MY EXPLANATIONS?!

I think this is the first book where my star rating and number rating don't match up. Because, really, I feel like number-wise, this book is a 4/10, but I did think it was an "okay" book overall. I mean, despite all these flaws, it wasn't an absolutely terrible book. It definitely wouldn't be one I'd recommend to anyone though.

It was okay

Overall: 4/10
Plot: 1/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5 (It's so...yellow... The ARC gets 5/5 though. IT'S SO PREETTTY)


  1. Ngaks. At least, you didn't DNF the book even if nothing is really happening. I think I would be really tortured about reading the mundane stuff Amelia and Ryan do in their day to day life. Gaah.

    And I think that tape business is really confusing. What is really the direction of this book? Is it a love story between people who are separated by time something?

    1. While it was boring, I don't think it was close to DNF boring, because I kept wanting to see whether the book would pick up at all. And the answer to that: NOPE.

      I can't really answer that question without spoilers, but it's so dang obvious once you get to reading the blurb and maybe the first 100 pages of the book

  2. I am so disappointed that this book wasn't good! The premise sounded neat, but all the things that you described would drive me bonkers.

    1. Yeah, the premise definitely seemed interesting, but the execution was completely lacking. So boring...

  3. I've been seeing this one all over Twitter. I was planning to request for an ARC but I didn't because I uh.. didn't like the cover. I know, I'm so weird but if I don't like a cover, I'm not going to read it unless everyone tells me I have to haha. :P I guess it was a good choice!

    1. haha I actually really like the ARC cover. The actual cover not so much, but the ARC cover is so pretty :3
      But yeah, fair enough, I'm actually the same. If it's not an author I trust then I probably won't request/buy books that have bad covers haha

  4. I saw this one going on Twitter and nearly requested it...buuut, all the reviews on Goodreads were 3 stars or less! I'm kind of glad I didn't ask now, because I think this would have bored me to tears. But the covers are pretty cool.

    1. I requested the book before I'd seen the GR reviews, and when I got around to reading it I looked at the GR page and was like o.O because all the reviews were so unfavourable haha

  5. Lovely review Nara, I've seen this book around and I think it's absolutely gorgeous! But yeah, the story doesn't really interest me too much. Thanks for the honest review, sounds like it was frustrating!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Yeah...the story was very boring. I actually thought the blurb sounded pretty good, but clearly the actual plot was really dull. Sigh.

  6. Replies
    1. I'm not sure I'd call it unique, to be honest. It was just really dry haha

  7. I just received a copy and was looking forward to it. Hmmm...not liking the boring part or the way it's structured though. Thanks for the review!

    1. I don't know, you might still enjoy it! It might have been a case of a book that just wasn't right for me :) Still, it is pretty boring haha

  8. I've done a review on this book too and also doing a giveaway on it

    This book wasn't really for me either, but maybe younger readers might disagree.


    1. I suppose it'd be okay with younger readers as long as they don't mind boring plotlines haha

  9. I agree that cover is just gorgeous. Too bad the book doesn't really deliver though. I like a lot of contemporary books so maybe I'd try it out. Or maybe not. :P

    1. I actually really like contemporaries as well- buuuuut this one, not so much :P