Now that I’ve moved home from uni, I’ve been clearing out a bunch of childhood stuff from my room. I hate tidying, but it has one perk: finding things you’d forgotten about, and that includes books.
Whilst I hate giving books away, I’ve been sorting out piles of books for charity, mainly books I didn’t like too much, or books that are now too young for me. But I’ve also stumbled across lots of books I know that I’ll struggle to ever part with.
This leads onto another ‘If you liked that, you’ll love this’ recommendation. This week, it’s not an apocalyptic/dystopia theme like the last two posts, but YA historical fiction instead, specifically World War Two. I’ve always had a keen interest in the World Wars and there are so many books out there that capture the horror, but also the hope. Many of this fiction tends to be adult because of the often harrowing, and gruesome, nature of the wars. However, there are a few YA gems out there that do the genre justice. So…
If you liked Code Name Verity, you’ll love Tamar
It’s been quite a few years since I read both of these books, but I can still remember the impact they had on me. I actually read Tamar before Code Name Verity but, whilst I’ve seen Code Name Verity talked about a fair bit on YA blogs, I’ve never seen any mention of Tamar. Granted, Tamar has been out for longer (it came out just under a decade ago), but I think Tamar is just that little bit better than Code Name Verity. After all, it did win the prestigious Carnegie Medal.
I’m not too sure about the new cover for Tamar – I think my copy captures the sense of isolation better with it’s dark blue cover and lonely parachutist’s in the distance. However, I think the new cover for Code Name Verity is an improvement on my copy.
Tamar I think is a little darker than Code Name Verity. It’s fraught with fear, loneliness and confusion as the plot flits between the present day and the Second World War, culminating in an extremely well-executed plot twist and climax. Just writing this post makes me want to re-read Tamar!
The characters are extremely likeable, but also flawed, and I could still describe to you right now, all these years after reading the novel, exactly what the protagonists are like. It’s a truly brilliant novel and I can’t stress enough that if you haven’t read it you should go out and pick up a copy now! Even though it’s classed as a Young Adult novel, I would say that this novel will easily appeal to adults. Brilliant prose, excellent characterisation, and a plot that doesn’t shy away from the darkest parts of humanity. Even if you’re not really a fan of historical fiction, this is too good a story to miss.
Synopsis for Tamar:
When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century earlier. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War. Unravelling it will transform the younger Tamar’s life.
Have you read Code Name Verity and/or Tamar? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!