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Harmonic Feedback Hardcover – May 25, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080509010X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090109
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MaryBookSwarm 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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes there are books that end up being very different than what I first imagined from reading the book's summary. This book is definitely one of them. I love when that happens because usually it ends up being even better than I imagined.

I loved Drea, Justin, and Naomi. They were awesome and good people. I may not have exactly their problems, but I do have my own, and I could easily relate to their characters. When I read the book's summary and looked at the cover (which fit perfectly), I thought the entire book would be dark and serious. But it wasn't. On almost every page there was something that made me laugh! Not that I'm saying there aren't any dark and serious moments because there definitely is. And I definitely cried. I still feel like I crying.

Music is a part of this book, but if you're worried you won't recognize the musicians, it's okay. It doesn't take over, which I liked. Although, honestly, I wouldn't have minded knowing more about the music Drea and Justin listened to because I seem to have a similar taste in music. I want Justin's Björk shirt (heck, just give me Justin! heh), and I have the urge to listen to Snow Patrol's "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking."

So, I'll just end by saying that if you're looking for a book with great characters and a book that will most likely make you laugh and cry, then I recommend this book to you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a truly beautiful book. I loved Amplified so much, and I can't compare the two books, but Harmonic Feedback definitely dealt with much deeper subject matters.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly deals with a lot of different issues - drug and alcohol abuse, abuse in general, and the question of what is a disability and what isn't? It addresses how people react and behave around people who Asbergers, whether the people know or don't know. It's fiction, it's wonderful and beautiful and the characters are awesome and lovable, but it's also a very important book, I think.

I loved Drea and her outlook on life - she was a fascinating protagonist that you can't help but get attached to. She oftentimes came off as naive, but I never really knew if that was because she'd been somewhat sheltered or because of her "touch of Asbergers" - or maybe both, and I liked that a lot.

And Naomi and Justin. Two secondary characters who definitely took on lives of their own. I loved them, despite Naomi's constant mess ups.

If you're a fan of moving contemporaries with brilliantly done characters, I definitely recommend Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly. Harmonic Feedback is so real - I was enamoured with the writing and story on each and every page.
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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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