Book review: Tape, by Steven Camden

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Tape

Author: Steven Camden

Goodreads link

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction


I thought about this book and I was definitely interested from the beginning, I can’t wait to read it. It was a bit difficult to get a grasp of the conversation going on for the first time; the author chooses to use the symbol of  rather than the symbol of ” to mark the beginning of each conversation, but after awhile you got used to it anyway. I liked the fact that it moves very quick, although you can tell that it was a bit stalled on the last two chapters.

This definitely feels real, no pretension whatsoever. All the emotions and confusions were original and you can just relate with what the characters are going through without feeling annoyed by its pretentiousness (*cough* TFIOS *cough*). I have never lost a parent, but I can tell that the void that it leaves were channelled nicely by the author through the way Ryan and Ameliah was coping on a daily basis. It was beautiful, there were no such thing as exaggerated emotions that feels superficial. Although I don’t really like all the characters, but they were definitely not hateable even with their own flaws. The characters were very original and although for some people they might have felt a bit too two dimensional, but the fact that the characters are as simple as they can get made me appreciate the story even more; it felt like the author was more concern with the story more than the additional characters’ trait.

The book definitely has its own fair share of plot twist, and although I did guess the plot twist nearing the end of the book, it was very satisfying to not be able to be sure whether or not my guess was right. You can just tell the flow of this book is like a beautiful and calming river up in the mountain, and as it was so calm you can’t really tell where this story is going to go or how it’s going to end. I usually hate it when I can’t guess where the story is going to go (especially when I’ve reached halfway through the book), but there was something calming about this book that made you feel at ease and patient as you wait where it’s going to end.

Now, here’s the good part. As I mentioned above, it was definitely fast paced. It just goes straight to business. Ryan is struggling with his new life with his stepmom and stepbrother when he met a girl that was to be (what he hoped) the love of his life; Ameliah was struggling to come to terms when his dad died from cancer and comes to live with his grandmother. Yes, the story was a bit stalled during the last chapter, but trust me, at that point you would kind of hoping it got stalled because you’re not ready to have the book end anyway. And, if you think the story feels superficial because of the theme about struggling to cope with life when you lost a parent and then meeting a new love interest in the process, then guess what? You are the superficial one, because that was just the basic premise, but the story was not determined by that, the evolution of the story and the relationship of all the characters are what determined the progress of the story and that what hooks me the most.

Did I enjoy it?

For sure! I enjoy all the characters in this book, even when I was so sure I’m going to hate Nathan and Heather, but I didn’t. They proved their worth and it made me feel like I might have restored my faith in humanity a little bit. I like the fact that this book address several issues like the loss of family member, the addition of a family member, moving in with new family member, integrating with a new life after losing a family member, and adolescence years with its own fair share of peer pressures, without the added bonus of having to sound condescending. It was just so simple and natural; you don’t get the feeling like ‘oh God, the author is going to go on a lengthy speech through its characters about life and the whatnots. How it’s majestic and we must strive for it and yadda yadda yadda.’ Nope, absolutely not!  The author was just simply telling the story and even when Ameliah finally hits  closure with what she is going through, you can tell that she sees it as simply as a thirteen year olds would see it. Again, no pretension whatsoever.


Ugh, I’m so not good at giving recommendations, especially when I know that people would have mistaken this book as a pretentious and/or lame book about teenagers doing and/or thinking teenagers’ stuff. It’s not, okay? Just take my word for it. This book is more than that. I don’t know how many times I can say this, but this book addresses everything simply without having to act all pretentious whatsoever, not even as the author was talking about music and movies. Please, if ever you somehow stumble upon this book, try to give it a shot, it’s a very quick read anyway.

  1. My favourite part and also the saddest part in this book was the beginning. Why? It was a favourite because it was the first paragraph that hooked me to the story, it was my ‘promise of a good story’, and it was sad because as you finished the book and you go back to the first part, you’ll come full circle with the story. You’ll read the first part again and you’ll see it in a different light, and that is why it was one of the saddest part for me.
  2. Although Ryan was definitely an admirable character and I did like him for the first half of the book, by the time I finished it, my favourite character was Liam and Nathan. Liam personifies a loyal character, the kind of friend that would take care of your back, that would help you, that would say sorry if they did something wrong. Nathan, on the other hand, was a classic tale of a bad guy turned good. The thing about Nathan is the fact that he didn’t go through majestic storyline to be a ‘good guy’, he was basically a good guy that was figuring out life when he was young and when he reached adulthood, he tried to prove his worth which is heartwarming.
  3. I would like to think that I came out learning something after I finish this book, but as of now all I can get is that, “things will get better if you want it to be, you just have to have faith and work for it”. Above all, I just feel very warm when I finished this book and it was more than enough.
  4. I was thinking of trying out the author’s next book, but the premise does not seem that promising, so probably I’ll just stick to this book.



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