Tara Kelly, Author
Henry Holt and Company, YA Fiction, 2010
Suitable for ages: 14 – 18
Themes: Asperger’s Syndrome, Friendship, Music, Emotional Problems, Drug Abuse
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Drea knows what it feels like to be an outsider. Her mother is once again moving Drea to another town and school — this time to her grandmother’s home in Bellingham, WA. Drea also is diagnosed with ADHD and a mild form of Asperger’s syndrome. The last thing she wants is to be labeled. Life isn’t easy and she finds the world confusing. Her real desire is to just make sense to herself. Drea is intelligent, musically gifted and passionate about sound design. She meets two other outsiders, free-spirited Naomi, who flirts with drugs and danger, and Justin, who is persistent and may even like Drea. They share her love of music and form a rock band. For the first time in her life Drea finds two true friends who accept and care about her. But, as in many relationships there will be joy, pain, grief and hope.
Why I like this book: A debut novel for Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback is a brilliant and complex book about finding your way in a world that doesn’t always make sense to you. It is both uplifting and tragic as Drea makes her first-ever friends. Tara delves deeply into the thoughts and feelings of Drea so that you really experience her world. Naomi and Justin are stand-out characters, each struggling with their own challenges. The plot is strong making this story a real page-turner. In writing Harmonic Feedback, Tara was clear that her novel “is not about defining Asperger’s syndrome or ADHD.” It is a story about the turmoil of teenagers trying to figure out their lives. It is a book that teens will relate to. After all, who hasn’t felt like an outsider. Make sure you read the author’s back pages. Visit Tara Kelly at her website and learn more about her recent novel Amplified. Tara is a one-girl band, writer, filmmaker, video editor, and digital photographer.