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3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,205 Ratings  ·  594 Reviews
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 before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War ...more
ebook, 342 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Candlewick Press (first published October 3rd 2005)
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Myste I've never been restricted with my reading, so my answer to this question would usually be, "no, it's not too old for her." However, there is a fair…moreI've never been restricted with my reading, so my answer to this question would usually be, "no, it's not too old for her." However, there is a fair amount of violence, and though it is undetailed it is harsh and befitting of war, as well as a mild (also undetailed) sex scene. If nothing else, I feel she might be somewhat bored by portions of the book, and potentially disturbed by others (such as the killing of 200+ war prisoners).

Since the title is her name, it's likely to be kind of special. I wouldn't ruin it by giving it to her before she can properly appreciate it. That being the case, perhaps buy a copy and keep it to give to her on her 15th birthday (as Tamar in the book is 15 when she is discovering the secrets of her grandfather's box).

I hope that I am not too late in answering and that I've helped you reach a decision. (: (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aly's Bookish Wonderland
Today, I found out that Mal Peet passed away.
I am absolutely gutted that such a kind, generous soul was taken away far too soon. I think a reread of Tamar is due.

May you rest in peace. You will be greatly missed.

I read this book back in '07/08, because I (luckily) lived next door to Mal Peet and he gave me a copy a couple of days after publishing and I absolutely loved it.

It is a beautiful story of love, betrayal and life of two soldiers during WWII.

I'd give it a shot if I were you.
Aug 11, 2007 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older teens and adults
I took me a while to get into this book. It is not my usual choice of genre, but I am glad I stuck with it. This story takes place in 2 time periods and centers around 2 characters who share a name. World War II Tamar is a British soldier stationed in The Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Present day Tamar, named for her grandfather, is facing several family crises. The story is well crafted and has a twist at the end (which you may or may not see coming). The wartime section of the story really hit me ...more
Dec 17, 2008 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was quite disappointed in this novel. It is advertised as the story of a young girl (Tamar) discovering secrets in her family having to do with espionage and WWII. The story isn't from the girl's point of view until page 99. Before that and comprising most of the book is a third person narrative concerning two men in the Dutch resistance during 1944. The intrigue involving the resistance is not a new story or handled in unique way. It's a basic love triangle with WWII as the backdrop and quite ...more
Aug 20, 2007 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenbooks
I could not put this one down. It is a book that could easily be enjoyed by adults as well as teens. The writing is superior and this is a tale well told. Completely engrossing and thrilling.

Here's a brief summary from the Fantastic Fiction website:

"A thrilling and moving story about love, betrayal and belonging. When Tamar's grandfather, an intensely private man, falls from a balcony to his death, he leaves behind a box with Tamar's name on it. For a long time Tamar refuses even to think about
Jan 13, 2013 jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain
this is a good book. it's good in the way good books are good. a good, solid goodbook. a readable book. a book you want to go back to night after night. a book that makes you anxious to see how it ends. a book with good sentences good words a good story. a book where people love each other. a book where people hate each other. a book where there is danger and there is respite. a suspenseful book. a book that makes you hungry. a books that makes you happy you are not cold (and you are not, becaus ...more
Sarah Cosey
This book started much stronger than it finished. It had great promise of mystery and intriguing to come. However, if you are at all an astute reader, you catch the plot twist rather early on. The mystery box of items that Tamar's grandfather leaves her with led me to believe that there would be a great unfolding of clues or truths throughout the story. In the end, all you get is a lengthy explanation from Tamar's estranged father which is a wordy and unfulfilling rehash of the story the reader ...more
May 22, 2014 Rhea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Not even WWII lit fans.
TAMAR is a fanfic.

Honestly, it feels as if Mal Peet read Postcards from No Man's Land and liked it so much, he decided to write a fanfic. But then he decided to tweak the storyline a bit to make it a bestseller, and to make the content more politically correct.

Let's observe the similarities:

- The narrative has two alternating stories, one from WWII and one from the 1990's

- The WWII story takes place in Nazi-occupied Holland, where a soldier and a young woman fall in love. Meanwhile, there is an
Aug 03, 2007 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Certain teen readers looking for "war" books, adults who enjoy historical fiction
Shelves: teen-lit-read
In such a short amount of space it’s difficult to touch on all the things that make Tamar a WWII historical novel unlike ones many teens (and adults) have ever encountered before. It’s a human drama set into motion by events taking place during the great war, which are often overlooked for bigger, Hollywood-depicted, epic war films. The hunger winter was real, and the Nazis did attempt to starve the Dutch into submission…or trick Dutch men into signing up to work for the Nazis only to become tod ...more
Yasmin Halliwell bower
It took me forever to finish this book for one simple reason: I suspected the big betrayal since the prologue, and I was right. So it was kind of predictable for me. I liked how the betrayal developped because it was well thought and the obsessive passion was believable, BUT the whole time I was reading I was like “Yep, I think I know what this is all about,” so it was a little boring for me. My second critique is that the first half of the book was utterly BORING because the activities of the r ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Darla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2009 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book begins with the naming of a child. A fairly simple event, yet this particular name carries a tremendous amount of meaning. The name is Tamar, it is the name of a river in Holland, it was the code name of a member of the Dutch Resistance during WWII, and it is now the name of a newly born girl. As the book progresses we learn more and more about the name, the person,and the story of Tamar.
Written in alternating sections (not chapters), young Tamar narrates the modern, set in 1995, secti
Nov 29, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, literary
I wanted to give TAMAR five stars, it was that good a read. I thought about it off and on for days after finishing. (And normally I forget a book once it's read, except when I buy it again and realize after a couple of chapters I've read it before!)

TAMAR grabbed me right away, when an old man asks his son to name his coming baby Tamar. The son conmplies and the stage is set for the story to unfold. When Tamar is fifteen, she sets out on a journey up the Tamar River in England, going to places he
Alex Baugh
Jan 21, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
Tamar is one of those stories that is difficult to talk about without giving too much away and spoiling the twist that comes at the end of the novel. And Tamar is well worth the read just to get to that. It begins in 1979, when William Hyde asks his son Jan if he and his wife would consider using the name Tamar for their expected baby, to which they happily respond in the affirmative. It is this daughter, Tamar, who narratives the story that follows.

The story then switches to 1945, introducing D
Jul 11, 2007 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sign of an outstanding book? Tears at the end--good tears. Tragic, historically interesting, emotionally gripping, beautifully written. As usual, I read the end early on; when I found out what happened I had to stop for a few days. But I couldn't just walk away. One nugget of doubt: Stepping away from the book, I had a little difficulty convincing myself that Dart would really have "done it," despite all Peet's carefully built clues. But I bought it wholesale while "in the dream" of the novel, s ...more
A story about the Dutch Underground in WWII - I was attracted to it because my late Brother-in-Law was in it as a child. He was shipped to Australia at the end of the war aged 12 as he was an orphan by then. He could speak no English, said English was the hardest language to learn as the rules made no sense. To his dying day he couldn't understand why you had one foot but didn't have two foots!
Allison Wonderland
One of those books that just sucks you in. I was absorbed from the word "go," and ran through Tamar at a quick pace. Everything seemed to slot together perfectly until the end. I can see why Peet wrote Tamar's reaction to the solution of the mystery the way he did, but I wish the ending hadn't been so... rushed, at least on the 1945 side of things. We get this excellently-written scene, and then... nothing. The information we receive on William Hyde's life after that scene is given secondhand an ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were times while I was reading this one that I had to remind myself I was reading a Young Adult book - the writing is accessible enough, but the story pretty adult and hard-hitting. The wartime story centres on two British agents dropped into Nazi occupied Holland in 1944 - one, codename Dart, is a radio operator and the other, Tamar, a co-ordinator for the resistance movement. Their story twists and turns very satisfyingly, evading Nazi interest, trying to control the various resistance f ...more
Maggie Boyd
Nov 30, 2013 Maggie Boyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I've been working my way through my YA book shelf and have to admit this book was a complete surprise to me, probably because of the subject matter and just how dark the entire book is.

It is 1944 and while the war is winding to a close the Germans are fighting for every inch of occupied Europe they have to give up. To aid the resistance in the Netherlands two operatives - code names Dart and Tamar - are dropped behind enemy lines to set up communication relays and prepare the various resistance
Clare Cannon
Feb 09, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults & Adults
Shelves: young-adult, adults
Even though this book is marketed as a young adult book, I’d recommend it for an 17+ readership. There is little graphic detail, but the themes themselves are serious: jealousy and betrayal leading to murder, a physical relationship before marriage justified by their love for one another, despair and suicide when everything becomes too much. But there is also a message of hope, and forgiveness, which subtly reforms a tragic situation.

The story is well-told through two interwoven narratives, the
May 29, 2011 Thea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love to read. Seriously.
This book. Where to start.

I'd like to say that this book deserves every single one of those stars. This is a 5 star books. It's told in two perspectives: One perspective is from the main character during World War Two, while the other perspective is about the girl who is discovering how she's connected to the main character during World War Two. Both view points complement each other very well.

I first came across this book when I was finding another book. I was hesitant on picking it up because
Lit. class review:

Winner of the Carnegie Medal and one of YALSA’s top ten books for teens in 2008. On the cover, two parachuters are landing in a field next to a windmill; there are letters printed across the bottom like code. The subtitle promises “a novel of espionage, passion, and betrayal.” Sounds like the tagline for a Matt Damon movie.

Tamar is a 15-year-old girl uncovering secrets about her namesake (a spy) through a box of coded messages. In the box, she discovers a story of two spies se
Mar 26, 2008 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This one's been sitting on my TBR shelf for awhile now, waiting for me to work my way around to the right mood. When I finally did, I was sucked in by the first line.

"In the end, it was her grandfather, William Hyde, who gave the unborn child her name. He was serious about names; he'd had several himself."

One day, out of the blue, William Hyde asks his son to name his daughter Tamar. He explains that when he was a Dutch resistance fighter working for the British during WWII, their code names we
Jun 09, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yvette Adams
Apr 27, 2016 Yvette Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is yet another book I bought second-hand purely because I liked the cover - the hand lettering and heavily textured card. I'd never heard of the book or the author and I ended up loving the book. It kept me guessing, was hard to put down and is absolutely recommended. Apparently this is a Young Adult novel, which surprises me. It's definitely OK for young adults to read but it feels to me more like a novel for adults.
Jul 24, 2008 Greta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Okay, another hard one for me to rate. The story itself was interesting, although I figured out the puzzle--the "ending" well before the end. But I honestly do not understand why authors feel they need to fill a book with obscenities and horrible language. In the context of war, that might be very "real" language, but still, I am offended by it usage. To be frank, I skipped a lot when it came to the war chapters (and I still figured out the ending). The chapters written in the 1995 setting had s ...more
Sep 24, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tale told in two timelines, one during the Netherlands resistance in World War II, and the other about fifty years later, when the granddaughter of resistance fighters inherits a mystery from her grandfather.

Both stories are compelling and well-written, and I didn't mind stopping one timeline to read about what was happening in the other.

I was impressed at how the structure of the novel brought me to the answer to the mystery on both timelines. I began to suspect that answer only as it got clo
Jul 16, 2009 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I really enjoyed this book about a side of WWII I haven't often read about - the Dutch involved in the resistance efforts before the United States became involved. This story revolves around two close friends who are code-breakers, and a young woman named Marijke. While this book is classified as a YA read, I found it to be very thoughtful, interesting, and adult. I would recommend this book to high school English teachers who incorporate Night into the curriculum - it would be a good side-read ...more
Julia Reynolds
Tamar is a two-part story, told in alternating sections. First is Tamar Hyde, a 15-year-old girl in Britain in 1995, who receives a box of old letters, photos, and papers from her recently deceased grandfather and embarks on a road trip (along the Tamar river) with her Dutch “cousin” to discover the secrets of her grandfather’s past during World War II. Second is the tale of code-name Tamar and code-name Dart, two Dutch Allied code-working spies in Nazi-occupied Holland during the “Hunger Winter ...more
Lesly Gomez
May 22, 2014 Lesly Gomez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tamar is an extrodanary book it gives specific chaterizations of how life was like during WW2 and throuth out the book all the little details help you imagine how life will be like if you were there for me while reading this book i fell a gut to my feeling every time i will read the words death or starvation it help me imagine the poor unhealpful jewish and dutch death on the floor kids starving and dying and dropping in the streets.Tamar made me realize that i should be happy and appreciate of ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Kiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, but I also didn't. It was like moving through cement that is drying. It kept me in suspense, and I kept trying to guess the ending (I got it right!). The reason I say I read it like cement was because of the big words I didn't recognize and my little knowledge for ww2. Though it was thoroughly entertaining. I felt the Present Tamar, the girl, was poorly written though. It seemed like Mal Peet didn't know much about the teenage girl, so he wrote her as he'd expect a teen ...more
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Does anyone know the name of this book? 3 7 Jan 18, 2015 04:58PM  
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The Ultimate Teen...: Tamar - Mal Peet 5 14 Oct 14, 2012 09:30AM  
  • Postcards from No Man's Land
  • The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
  • Red Moon at Sharpsburg
  • Remembrance
  • Here Lies Arthur
  • River Boy
  • On the Wings of Heroes
  • Escaping into the Night
  • The FitzOsbornes at War (The Montmaray Journals, #3)
  • The Trap
  • Bog Child
  • Soldier X
  • Bone by Bone by Bone
  • New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's  Voyage of Discovery
  • Climbing the Stairs
  • The Berlin Boxing Club
  • The Other Side of Truth
  • Mistik Lake
Mal Peet grew up in North Norfolk, and studied English and American Studies at the University of Warwick. Later he moved to southwest England and worked at a variety of jobs before turning full-time to writing and illustrating in the early 1990s. With his wife, Elspeth Graham, he had written and illustrated many educational picture books for young children, and his cartoons have appeared in a numb ...more
More about Mal Peet...

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“You do not win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making sure that some poor bastard dies for his.” 15 likes
“What I'm trying to explain to my sulky little cousin is that we are doing things backwards. We are going from the end of the river to the start of the river. And endings are always sad. We are doing the sad bit first, which is wrong. Strange.” 6 likes
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