Mary's Reviews > Harmonic Feedback

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
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Aug 10, 10

bookshelves: debut-authors
Read from July 28 to August 10, 2010

Final Grade: 99/A+
YA Contemporary
Rated PG-15: drug use, sex, some language

REVIEW: Darned book made me cry! Maybe it was because I was up into the wee hours of the morning finishing this book or maybe it was because I was so invested in these characters, but I cried--and I so rarely do that with books. (Or...it could be that I have to go back to school in a couple of days that made me weepy...)

Drea is an absolutely marvelous character--I totally rooted for her every step of the way. She's struggled all her life with labels (AS, ADHD), and a mom who tries to make life easier for her by telling everyone about Drea's "issues". Of course, this just ends up making Drea's life more difficult. And, because of her challenges, she has a lot of trouble relating to people and vice versa. They don't appreciate her straightforward honesty (she doesn't understand lying) or her abrupt manner until Nicole and Justin come along. Both musicians, they connect with Drea and become her first real friends (and boyfriend! Great love story!), making beautiful music together (sorry, couldn't help myself).

I can't say enough about this book. I love the connections between the characters, how they all interact with one another. The dialogue is well-paced and totally believable. Author Tara Kelly's treatment of Drea's Asperger's syndrome is done with a delicate and understanding hand, integrating Drea's daily struggles with social interaction seamlessly into her overall character.

Kelly develops deep backstories for each of her characters, adding to the richness of the story. For example, Justin isn't just a cute boy with a past, he has a past that he's trying to redeem himself from, a past that allows him to relate to both wild-child Nicole who loves boys and drugs (and who made me want to slap some sense into her!), and Drea, who'd rather bury herself in the basement with her instruments and her computer. Even Nicole's slimy boyfriend and minor character, Scott, is developed, rather than just a cardboard placeholder as is the case with many bit players.

HARMONIC FEEDBACK definitely goes on my "To Read Again" pile (*much* smaller than my TBR pile). One of my top pics for 2010.

I absolutely cannot wait for her next book, C-SIDE TALES, which comes out in 2011.
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