Lindsay's Reviews > Amplified

Amplified by Tara Kelly
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Nov 21, 11

bookshelves: young-adult, own, contemporary, music, friendship, romance, reviewed
Read from November 11 to 12, 2011 — I own a copy

When Jasmine gets kicked out by her dad, she heads straight for Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She sort of finds an ideal room in an oceanfront house, but first she has to convince the three guys living there she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she's got major stage fright, and the cute bassist doesn't think a girl from the rich side of the hill can hack it in their industrial rock band.

Tara Kelly's sophomore novel introduces us to a girl who has dreams, who knows what she wants her future to look like, but there's the in-between stage that she needs to navigate and figure out before she can come out on the other side. If she can come out on the other side.

Jasmine is an interesting character. She's musical and creative, she's smart, but she's screwed and lost and unsure and maybe a little clueless when it comes to the real world. Like the real real world where people work two or three jobs and live in crap apartments and eat ramen noodles and pizza and struggle every day to make a better life for themselves. Fortunately for Jasmine, she knows what she wants and she will fight for it, even with her crippling stage fright. She's fragile and shaky, she needs to find her voice (so to speak), and when she does her own piece of the world will be ready for her to take.

It was different, being shown that glimpse of someone's life right after high school but without college to look forward to after the summer months (like my life and lots of others). This does happen, some take time away from school or choose not to go to college, but the lost feeling is so much more powerful and poignant and overwhelming. I kept rooting for Jasmine, hoping she wasn't continually kicked to the curb.

As for C-Side, the characters in the band worked as a unit for me, a group that Jasmine wanted to weave herself into. Sometimes there was more Veta or Sean, depending on what was going on with Jasmine, but that's how I felt. I couldn't always see the band as individual characters. Which I'm not knocking. For me, it worked.

I was very intrigued by the music aspect (as someone who loves music and is interested by people who play music but who can't play or sing to save her life). Perhaps it was a little technical here and there, but this is an industrial rock band. I imagine that in such a band, there's a lot of equipment. I could also understand Jasmine getting swept away by the music, trying to find her own place in a band that's already established with their own quirks and habits.

Tara Kelly once again gives us a narrator both brutally honest and unwilling to back down from her dreams, even when the journey has more bumps, rocks, and pot holes than most. Life isn't perfect, but sometimes, when you face facts and face your demons, you find your ray of sunshine and crank up the music as loud as you want.
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