Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Me on Harmonic Feedback

Title: Harmonic Feedback
Author: Tara Kelly
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 278 (Hardcover)

This seems to be the fall/winter where I read a lot of contemporary YA. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I've been enjoying it. :)

Plus, I'm continuing my trend of reviewing books that haven't gotten a lot of publicity and aren't that well known, which sucks for the author because the book's really good.

So, Drea has to move to Bellingham with her single mom to live with their grandmother, which sucks. Plus, she's got issues, some of which might be ADHD and "a little bit of Asperger's." She's not perfect, but who is? And then there's her love of music and sound editing (which I think is really cool).

She meets Naomi and Justin, forms a band, and then is forced to deal with the rougher side of life when all she wants to do is run and hide behind her sound equipment.

I was surprised that I loved this book so much. I mean, I don't read books unless they interest me, so I figured I was going to like it, but it was so much better than I expected.

Drea's coping with the Asperger's and the ADHD didn't overshadow the plot and other characters, which was good. It's not about her and her problems, but more about her learning how to cope in a world that isn't perfect, that might chew you up and spit you out, leaving you to regain control over your life. The curve balls thrown her way keep piling up: Naomi and her questionable choices, Justin's surprising interest in her, her mother and the cavalier way she gets involved with all the wrong men, her grandmother's bitterness.

I was surprised at the grit and the realism in this book. The alcohol, the drugs, the car races, the bullying, the cops and crime, the overdose, the teen sex. I think contemporary YA needs the realism to be compelling. If it's not realistic, if it doesn't cover the good and the bad of life, then it's more like outrageous fantasy. The grit in this book surprised me a little, I wasn't expecting it, but it made the book.

What's YA without a little romance? ;) There's a couple different situations where romance starts: the main character gets together with their crush, or the main character gets surprised by someone who has a crush on them. What happens to Drea is the latter. She meets Justin, thinks he's weird and annoying, but he's drawn to her and her offbeat unique ways. I don't want to say adorable, but it's adorable, in a realistic teens mature enough to have sex after facing trouble and hardship way.

In short, go read this book. It's a great debut, like Mindi Scott's Freefall (hi, Mindi). It's on my Christmas list because the copy I read is from the library. I want my own copy. Proof that it's a great book, right?? ;)

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