Dear Tara Kelly,
Your new book Amplified came out on Tuesday. Late Monday night on Twitter, you were kind of freaking out because lots of stores had it in stock and you said it didn't happen with your first book, Harmonic Feedback.
I first read Harmonic Feedback last November, 6 months after the release date. It was a borrow from the library (that I actually put a hold on for, so don't think I didn't want to read it). I think I remember reading a blog post about how your first release day wasn't like other authors, how there wasn't a lot of fanfare or publicity. I'll admit, initially, I didn't think I'd enjoy your book as much as I did. Contemporary YA doesn't fill a lot of space in my bookcase, not unless it can reach out and make me feel something beyond "that was a good story."
Tara, it reached out and made me feel something.
I found myself slipping into Drea's shoes as I read page after page. I could relate to her in some ways more than others (we moved right before I started high school, so I understood the first day at a new school/first day back from summer break situation). I couldn't relate to her in terms of her ADHD and Aspeger's, in terms of how much of a struggle it can be when the world didn't work the way she wished it would, when she wished people would be honest and say what they meant instead of lying to her or making fun of her without her knowing, but after a while I did understand her.
It was a library borrow 11 months ago, it was a library borrow in June when I saw it and (possibly) dove for it on the shelf, and it was a buy in September (I ordered it online). I ordered Amplified online, too (as far as I can tell, no bookstore up here has it on the shelf yet, but don't take it personally, it's Canada).
I've been waiting for Amplified for months, back when it had a different title, way back before it had a cover (the yellow cover with the girl standing on the amp is gorgeous, by the way). Apparently, I added it to my list on Goodreads almost 10 months ago.
So, Tara, I guess I'm trying to say thank you for your books, even though I've only read one of them so far. Thank you for Drea, because she's made of pure awesome. Thank you for writing about music, because it's something I love (even though I can barely play the piano and can't sing to save my life). Thank you for writing about the hard stuff, about the lives of teenagers who don't live in comfy homes in the 'burbs with both parents and 2.8 kids (plus the white picket fence and a dog), about the teens who do drugs and get kicked out of school because not writing about them won't make them go away.
You've gotten some flack for Harmonic Feedback, some nasty e-mails, recently some pretty bad ones. It's not fair that these people/internet trolls attack you personally. I wish I could take their abuse for you so you wouldn't have to read their words.
I wish I could drive down to Seattle and see you in November, finally meet you in person, get my books signed, but I can't. One day.
Never stop writing, Tara, because I'll read it. And, to be honest, I get a kick out of reading "critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly" when I expand the book description for Amplified on Goodreads. Do you? ;)