In 1993, 13-year-old Ryan is struggling with his grief over the death of his mother and is trying to deal with his father’s new marriage and his new stepmother and stepbrother. In 2003, Ameliah has just moved in with her grandmother after the death of her parents. One day when she’s clearing out the spare room, she comes across a tape and starts to listen. To her surprise, a boy starts speaking...
I thought Tape was a sweet book but without being saccharine or smarmy. I kind of went into it thinking it was going to be a bit like Landline by Rainbow Rowell, but apart from one small exchange at the beginning of the book and a bit at the end, Ryan and Ameliah don’t actually communicate with each other, it’s more about the way going through the spare room junk and listening to the tapes she finds helps Ameliah to come to terms with her loss and the things going on in Ryan’s life help him with his own grief.
If you’re looking for a book that has you on the edge of your seat, this probably isn’t the one for you. The love story in it is quiet and a little bit awkward (they’re only thirteen). It reminded me a little bit of the love story in The Time Traveller’s Wife: no stomach-churning love triangles or cliff-hangers, just two people who are destined to be together. The plot flows very smoothly although fairly slowly; it deals mostly with Ameliah and Ryan’s separate but intertwined stories and how they deal with their losses. There were a couple of twists, both of which I guessed from the blurb, but actually that didn’t matter because I think the rest of the plot made up for it.