As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

March 20, 2011

HARMONIC FEEDBACK by Tara Kelly, 2010

Harmonic FeedbackSixteen-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? (Amazon)

Review by Alexa Barry

This book is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. 

Although Drea has Asperger and ADHD, it doesn't define her character and she was easy to relate too. Her voice is perfect, effortless and real, it caught me up from the first sentence.

Connecting with people and learning to be yourself, are two of the major themes of Harmonic Feedback and they’re handled brilliantly. Drea isn't the odd one out because she has aspergers, Naomi and Justin, have just as much trouble forming connections, they just hide it better. People learn to act normal, but we all have our strange quirks and ways of looking at the world and that’s presented here as a good thing, not something you should feel the need to hide, especially not from the people close to you.

The  interactions between the three feel so believable. I was rooting for all of them to find their place, find themselves, and find each other too. I loved Drea and Justin’s romance and I loved Drea and Naomi’s friendship just as much, it twisted my heart.

I loved moments like this with Naomi. They felt close and warm. If I could put this moment between us in a box, I’d hide it under the bed and take it out whenever I could. And I’d throw out the incident at the mall and Scott. I wished this was enough for her. I wished I was enough for her.

Drea’s Mom was perfect too, or rather she wasn't perfect, nor was she absent or evil. She was real, with issues of her own, she loves Drea and worries about her. I haven’t liked a mother/daughter relationship so much since Saving Francesca

Finally a note on the music because music plays a huge role in bringing Drea, Justin and Naomi together. I am fairly mainstream with the music I listen to (I need someone like Drea to make me a tape!) and I barely recognized any of the bands mentioned in Harmonic Feedback. What I did recognize was the transformative nature of music and how it can change your mood, change your life, Tara Kelly describes it beautiful.

Market: Young Adult
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Drugs, death, sex

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Tara Kelly


Anonymous said...

Alexa, this is a great review! I especially appreciated the last paragraph, where you take note of the roll of music in the book. From the Amazon description, I was worried I wouldn't understand/relate to this book (isn't Poe a poet? hee hee), but your last paragraph made me put aside those worries and add this book to my To Read list!!!

Also, a "normal" mom! From what I've read of contemporary YA lit (which, admittedly, isn't much) that's amazing!

Amoniel said...

Oooooh, sounds like a lovely book :) I wonder if my library has it?