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.
First of all, credits to the publisher for writing such a fantastic blurb. It really made me want to read the book, which is what a blurb is supposed to do, I suppose. I wish I could say the same about the book. I was promised a story about love, about time-travel, a story of hope and fate and all the magic of the universe, to quote the blurb.
There was no time travel, just 2 people in different decades, each trying to get over a personal loss, which wasn’t really touched upon. The love story was that of cheesy summer romance, where the boy falls for the girl-next-door (literally) who’s visiting for the summer. It didn’t feel like love and it was quite cliché. Hope wasn’t involved, just a girl who’s fascinated by a man who visited her house and sets out to discover who he really is in true Nancy Drew style. And she does, but when you read the book, you can predict what will happen before the big secret and how everything connects is revealed 100 pages later.
I liked the plot idea, of two teenagers being able to talk to each other over a collection of old tapes but I just think the author went the wrong way about it. The story felt erratic and didn’t flow like other books. Maybe I’m missing the point but I felt like it didn’t fit together. The author has tried to interweave these two different, yet very similar stories to create a colourful patchwork but has instead created a lumpy knitted jumper that’s two sizes too small.
I think books should fill you with this evangelical zeal, or at least should leave you thinking about the issues it raised. This book did neither.
Rating: 2 ½ stars.