Arlene's Reviews > Harmonic Feedback

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
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Jan 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2011, ya-contemporary, young-adult
Read from April 20 to 22, 2011

Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly falls in that coveted category of hard to put down. This story captured my attention almost immediately and despite a hectic couple of days, I kept running back to this book at every free moment to read more about Drea and her life. Harmonic Feedback really did move me and kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

I was pleasantly surprised by the content of the book. It wasn’t until I was about to start reading it did I discover it involved themes such as Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I initially thought it was about the well played out concepts of teenage angst, coming of age, first love sprinkled with the added element of music. Not the case at all!

In Harmonic Feedback we meet Drea, a sixteen year old, musically obsessed teenager that’s had all sorts of labels thrown at her, such as teachers calling her socially immature, to kids calling her a freak, and doctors checking off symptoms so they can make random diagnosis on her. Her whole life she’s struggled to make friends and simply fit in, all because she doesn’t understand that invisible set of social rules. All that changes when she moves to a new town and meets Justin and Naomi, the first people to treat her like nothing was wrong with her, and for the first time she wants to be good at the role she is suppose to play; in the hopes that if she plays her part right, they will see her as normal.

Overall, I feel this book is so much more than about defining AS and ADHD. At the core, this novel is about a girl’s experience with just trying to fit in. In today’s day and age, we like to believe we’ve come a long way in accepting differences and bringing down social barriers, but when you think about it people are just as quickly to judge others today as we were yesterday.

I really came to feel compassion for Drea because through her eyes, we can see how at the most basic level, everyone simply just wants to be accepted. Heck, this concept is even backed up by theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs stating that social acceptance comes in at #3 in our list of human needs where we simply want to experience belonging, love, affection and acceptance. Throughout the entire novel, it always felt that this was just beyond Drea’s grasp and at any moment she would do or say the wrong thing and everything would just fall apart.

The characters in this novel all played well defined roles. Her mother was always that protective person that sometimes passed the boundaries of confidence IMO by telling people about Drea’s condition before she even had a chance to define herself. Naomi came in to Drea’s life and offered her friendship with no questions asked, but it still felt like it came with a price that challenged Drea’s beliefs of right and wrong. Justin was the first person to know Drea’s true self and give her the love she deserved and the protection she required in a socially confusing environment. All great secondary characters that played integral roles in Drea’s life.

Overall, this novel was filled with powerful and raw emotions. I loved the music element that was infused in the storyline. I adored the characters and my heart broke for Drea time and time again throughout this book. Truly a story that’s well worth the time and investment. Great read!
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Reading Progress

04/22/2011 page 167
60.0% "I think I'm liking this alot more than my reading buddy. :P"

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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~Tina~ GREAT book!! Happy Reading!


Arlene Thank you! I'm excited to start this one today. :D


message 3: by Nic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nic Love this book :)


Flannery Have you started this one yet? It is not at all what I was expecting it to be about! (I guess I should've reread reviews lol)


Arlene LOL! Yes, I'm more than 1/2 way done. I'll finish it tonight. I really like it, but I get the feeling you don't. Oh no! :P


Flannery Oh, I do! I'm really liking it--it is just painful to read about embarrassing things like (view spoiler) I'm only at 100 pages but I'm gonna sit down in a minute and finish it tonight as well.


Arlene OMG!(view spoiler) Okay, glad you're liking it. I"ll finish it tonight too. :P


message 8: by Crystal (new) - added it

Crystal Great review! I am going to have to read this one soon =)


Arlene Thanks Crystal. It was really good. I hope you like it too. :)


message 10: by Nic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nic YAY! So glad you loved it. One of my favourite books. I loved this characters :)


message 11: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora I wanna read this so bad! Right now my lib doesn't carry it and it isn't in stock at my local bookstore. I think I'm going to request that my lib carry it.

Awesome review, Arlene :)


Milly Arlene, I thought you knew what it was about. That was actually the reason why I wanted to read it. Marcelo in the Real World was so good that I wanted to read this after I found out what it was about. It gives me really good insight to the kids I work with.


Nomes awesome review.

it was awkward to read in parts but also beautiful.

Also ~ my son has Aspergers. he can be hilarious, painful and he's a little genius. I like reading books about it b/c of him but in some parts it makes me cringe :D


Arlene @ Nic, Yes, the characters... ahem... ahem.. especially Justin were great! I really liked this one.

@ Lora, thankies! I know! I saw it at my lib and I did that little shocked gasp thing when I found it. I had a huge smile on my face when I was bringing it home. *waves nerd flag*

@ Milly, I knew it was full from fabulous from Nic and Tina, but I didn't realize the surrounding themes were AS and ADHD until you mentioned it last week. It was really good, but not much definition and/or distinctions around these conditions.

@ Nomes, thanks! Yes, some parts are awkward. My heart was tearing in pieces for Drea. Thanks for sharing about your son. I've just recently heard of AS, maybe like 2 or 3 years back. I've read a few books around this subject. Did you know in Dear John the father is suspected of having AS? Also a great book that deals with this subject is Marcelo In The Real World which Milly mentioned above.


~Tina~ Brilliant review sweets!


Nomes thanks arlene. i have been meaning to read MARCELO.

i think i knew about AS earlier as i am a teacher and had some students with it ~ but it is only recently getting more recognised.

also glad to see you, umm, enjoyed justin ;)


Arlene Thanks Tina! :)

Nomes, Marcelo does a great job of getting into the mind of a teenage boy with AS and the voice is brilliant. It really opened my eyes to how they see the world. Very much worth it.

LOL Justin was one of those too-good-to-be-true sort of characters. He was great.


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