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Friday, May 21, 2010

Review: Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly


Title: Harmonic Feedback
Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Henry Holt BFYR
Pub. Date: 5/25/10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Asperger's Syndrome, Music, Friendship, Romance
Pages: 278
Description (from GoodReads):
Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on a touch of Asperger’s.”

Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.
It’s obvious that Drea can’t hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she’s found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?

By simply reading the description of Harmonic Feedback, you'll discover that the main character has Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's is characterized by social awkwardness and repetitve behaviors, which, understandably, sets Drea apart from other main characters in the genre. Unfortunately, some people may see Kelly's debut novel on the shelf, and, like Drea's peers, be unable to see past the Asperger's. This aspect of the novel is well written and allows it to stand out on crowded YA shelves, but that isn't the only thing that makes it shine.

As indicated by the title, Drea is heavily influenced by music. Whether the reader is familiar with the bands or types of music in the novel is irrelevant; it's Drea's passion that resonates. Often, a main character will dabble in hobbies and activities, but readers rarely see the protagonist so completely dedicated to something, other than a boy. Drea's ability to both lose and find herself in music reminded me of how I feel about reading. I think many readers will feel this connection to Drea, no matter what their individual passion. It's the fact that the reader can identify with Drea that makes her unforgettable.

It's impossible for me to discuss Harmonic Feedback without mentioning Justin, the boy who unexpectedly walks into Drea's life and turns it completely upsidedown. Not only does Justin challenge Drea's ideas about her music, he challenges her ideas about herself. In ways, Justin is Drea's knight in shining armor. He awakens her to a whole new world that I fear she never would sought out on her own. Kelly wrote Justin as both a supportive friend and a boy falling head over heels for a girl, which is exactly what Drea needs.

I can't say enough good things about Harmonic Feedback and, even then, I don't know if I could do it justice. Tara Kelly has written a powerful novel that both inspires and entertains and I urge you to read it!

Grade: A

Cover Comments:
I love the cover, especially because the cover model could be me, you, or you.

CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH TARA KELLY AND WIN A COPY OF HARMONIC FEEDBACK HERE.

38 comments:

  1. I love the idea for this book - asperger's and music. great to hear that the author did it justice!

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  2. This sounds so good! I was interested in it a few months ago but other books managed to worm their way into my shopping cart before Harmonic Feedback. Now... oh Sara. M bank-account draining, walking, talking human book recommendation... you've done it again. I love the sound of this and I really can't wait to read it! Great review!

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  3. I would never have picked this book up, if it weren't for your review! Now, it's a must-read. Thanks!

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  4. I loved this one so much! I can't wait for her next book.

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  5. This book is number one on my wish-list. I've heard so many amazing things. Ever since I saw the movie 'Adam', I've been DYING to read this. Definitely even more psyched (if that's possible) after reading you review.

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  6. This book sounds wonderful. I didn't know what it was about, but the cover captured my attention and the summary sounds just as interesting. Now reading your review I'll definitely have to get this book.

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  7. This looks great. Definitely adding it to my list.

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  8. This does sound like a great read! Thank you for the review - I will definitely add this to my wish list!
    thanks

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  9. ooh thanks for the review! its on my to-read list now!

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  10. Thanks for reviewing! I'm definitely going to check this one out!

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  11. This sounds really unique. I can't wait until this comes out!

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  12. I'm glad you liked it so much, I really have to read it now! (:

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  13. Thanks for this review Sara! Your description makes me really want to check out the book myself.

    *Hope I win the contest*

    I think it's great to point out that the novel is much more than Drea's Asperger's syndrome. I've read a lot of contemporary YA "issue" books lately, and there is always something more going on. I'd never only recommend most of them for just those who have the same problems - many people can identify with them, even if they've never had the issue.

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  14. I've been wanting to read this book for the longest! Glad to see a great review for it. ^_^

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  15. My family's quite musical [I play the violin grade 5, my sister and dad guitar] and I love music [Green Day!] so this should be a great, heart touching read for me!

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  16. I love love loved! Harmonic Feedback! The cover is just so awesome and the characters are just all kinds of fun. I'm so glad you liked it! <3

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  17. Great Review! This has been on my list for awhile - the cover is what attracted me but when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read the book.

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  18. I've been looking forward to reading this books since I first saw a snippet of it on Tara's blog. And after this review I want to read it even more!

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  19. It sounds like such a fantastic book! I can't wait to read it! :)

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  20. Its a nique story in that Drea has Asperger's Syndrome. Its not something I would usually pick up and I think you've managed to change my mind about it.

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  21. I love the unique angle of this book

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  22. I cannot wait to read this book. It has been on my wish-list ever since I found out about it!

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  23. The music theme of the book definitely makes it sound worthwhile, yet I think also that adding Asperger Syndrome to this book can make it unforgettable. Thanks for the positive review!

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  24. I love it when music is incorporated into the story. Thanks for the review, It sounds great.

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  25. I keep hearing great things about this book and reading your review makes me want it even more. I was actually intrigued by the Asperger's element since I don't know much about it and of course since I love music myself that was what has really drawn me to the story. Thanks for the review.

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  26. I don't know much about aspergers so I want to know it better. This book looks great! Thanks for the great review!

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  27. Yes! I love books that are music inspired - I learn about the best bands usually through books.

    And I agree, that cover is awesome. I'll definitely have to check out this book, it sounds great.

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  28. Everyone I know who's read this has read it. Can't wait to read it!!!

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  29. Oh, this book sounds good. I've had an interest in Asperger's syndrome, since reading THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MCKENZIE, which has a hero with Aspergers.

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  30. After reading this review I am going to have to add this to my TBR mountain. I have heard of Aspergers but don't know much about it. However, I'd like to learn more. from the brief description I can see myself. I don't socialize much and feel uncomfortable in many social aspects. I'm very co-dependent upon my hubby, I go nowhere without him or on occasions I substitute my Mom. So this interests me a great deal. I'm glad I looked for book contests and found this page.

    Robin
    Robbibird3@aol.com

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  31. I can't wait to read this! I've been hearing wonderful things about it all over the blogosphere! This sounds really different, and definitely interesting. I would love to read about a knight in shining armor myself!

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  32. I love how music is really involved in this book, I like to say that "music is my life". The cover looks incredible, and I think I should get this (I know I should!)

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  33. Awesome ! Books that are close to music are always good !

    ~Alison

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  34. It sounds like an awesome book, and very unique! I can't wait to read it sometime. <3

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  35. Wow, this sounds like such an amazing book. I have seen the cover before but never read a review. Thanks!

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  36. Loved this book. The voice is pot on, stunning and powerful plot.
    Find an independent bookstore, get a copy and read it.
    You won't be sorry.

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