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Harmonic Feedback Hardcover – May 25, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080509010X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090109
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–Drea is a high school junior in a new town, navigating through social networks that are extraordinarily uncomfortable for her because she has Asperger's syndrome. She is clueless to teen innuendo, body language, and facial cues. Her creativity flourishes in music as it is specific, precise, and as clear as the black-and-white keyboard. She is befriended by Naomi, who has a beautiful voice but dances too close to danger. Justin is kind, good-looking, and somewhat mysterious. He is a gifted pianist, and the teens form a trio. For Drea, first love with Justin is tricky, but seems no more so than for any young person. There are more times than not when she seems comfortable following Naomi along her turbulent path, which includes shoplifting, drug use, and an abusive relationship. Through Drea's eyes, readers see a cast of drama-teens self-absorbed in their edgy lifestyles. Unfortunately, there is just too much disharmony here and too little of what makes Drea tick.Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Since early childhood, Drea has received diagnoses that vary from ADHD to mild Asperger's syndrome. “All I know is I make sense to me—it's other people who seem complicated,” she says. Yet after she and her single mom move from San Francisco to Bellingham, Washington, to live with Drea's cranky grandmother, Drea, a talented musician and aspiring “sound designer” who “had never even felt what could be considered a crush,” forms a band with wild, purple-haired Naomi and fellow new kid Justin, with whom she begins her first romance. Without overexplanation, debut novelist Kelly offers readers a strong, authentic sense of Drea's inner life and daily struggles, which include Drea's intense musical passion and her well-founded worries about Naomi and Justin. Fans of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2006) will recognize similarities in the dialogue and romance between music insiders, but this title leads to a sobering, tragic ending that underscores the message that all teens, regardless of how they're wired, struggle to find connection, meaning, love, and purpose. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She's an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and she's back in school getting her M.Ed in School Counseling. She lives in Portland with her ten guitars, sound design master bf, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

For more information about the author: http://thetaratracks.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 34 customer reviews
I loved that she connected so well with Drea and liked that Drea was real and honest with her.
Lucy (Reading Date)
Drea hates being labeled by antonyms like ADHD but instead wants to be known for who she is, someone who's passionate about her music.
Kim Baccellia, "YA Books Central reviewer"
She hit one out of the park with Harmonic Feedback and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.
Trish Doller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary VINE VOICE on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Final Grade: 99/A+
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laura Manivong on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I got to read this arc several months ago, and the fact that specific scenes are still fresh in my head is a testament to its power. Drea, the protagonist, is such an individual main character, not caught up in the typical drama of most teenage girls. She's wonderfully flawed and brutally truthful, and it makes for a fantastic journey through the heart and soul of a teen navigating her way through a world that doesn't always make sense. A refreshing and vital addition to the genre of realistic teen fiction. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Allison J on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was rather shocked by how much I loved this book. I was honestly not expecting to find it so fully engaging - but the protagonist's world was a wonderful place to visit. I also appreciate that it was a book about a girl with Asperger's without that being the main focus of the book - she was simply an awkward girl trying to find her way through high school with perhaps a few more obstacles than your average awkward girl. (I was also kind of in love with the male protagonist, even if he was constructed entirely of characteristics never before seen in a teenage boy). In any case, I loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up HARMONIC FEEDBACK based on the strength of Trisha's review over at The YA YA YAs. This is not an unusual thing for me to do, as you probably know. Trisha has impeccable taste and a knack for tempting me with her reviews in such a way that what was non-committal longing suddenly turns into I must have it now! Trisha asked why more people aren't talking about this book and called it "a noteworthy debut." After reading it, I frankly have to agree with her. It was hard to track down in the first place, which was frustrating, and I haven't talked to all that many people who've read it. Yet it's a lovely story of growth and grief and what it means to exist outside the box. I think it possesses wide appeal for young adult readers who appreciate sensitive and thoughtful characters engaged in the search for connection and meaning in their lives.

Drea and her mom are on their own and they have been for as long as Drea can remember. Her first sixteen years have been one long string of moves and men. Her mother can never seem to keep a job long enough for Drea to finish that year of school. And she goes through men like they're a dime a dozen. Eternally nonplussed, Drea really does have enough on her plate without having to deal with her mother's fickle behavior. Diagnosed with ADHD and a mild form of Asperger's syndrome, it's hard for Drea to relate to her peers. They continually act irrationally, in ways that make no sense to practical, methodical Drea. Her mother is forever explaining "normal" people's behavior to her in the hopes that she will catch on and not stick out like a sore thumb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erica on September 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was pure magic. Tara Kelley delivered a simply stunning debut. I honestly don't know what words to describe this book. This review has been waiting to written for weeks, yet every time I go to write my review, the words I have don't seem to do it justice.

Music is a huge part of my own life, and I loved reading a book that music was so central to the plot. It was just wonderful! Tara Kelly's writing was wonderful. This was a very memorable book.

I love the characters. Every one of them was very well writte and seemed so down to earth and real. Tara Kelly did an awesome job with her characters in the fact that none of them were sterotypical and cliche. Every character was very memorable in their own ways. Each had a past that really helped you identify with them. I loved how Drea didn't just let her mental illness rule her life.

This is definately a book you will not want to miss. Tara Kelly wasted no words in Harmonic Feedback, and every page draws you in. Tara Kelly is definately an author to watch; I personally cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!
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