Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Harmonic Feedback9780805090109_p0_v1_s260x420Harmonic Feedback

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.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

26 thoughts on “Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

    • Tara Kelly is a talented writer. She has masterfully woven many different subjects into this complex novel. It is realistic fiction and you would enjoy it. Music is so central to this story. There are no tidy endings.


    • Thanks for stopping. Feeling like an outsider is hard on teens, especially when you know there are differences. But, her friends aren’t perfect either and are able to accept Drea as she is. And they realize her abilities and talents.


    • Thanks Amanda. I do think you’d enjoy this book, especially since it revolves around music. It is realistic and dramatic! And, I like how the author’s goal is to tell a story about the lives of teenagers — they all have their own issues. Drea just happens to have Aspergers, and it really is a gift for her.


    • It is deep and dramatic. I like how the power of music is used in many different ways, and ultimately aids in healing. I liked the discussion on realistic fiction on the Hub yesterday — I believe kids need it to make sense of their lives. What better way than being able to connect with someone dealing with a similar issue or problem. And, thank you for sharing my review.


      • You are so right about realistic fiction. Just popped back to let you know that this post showed up in my google alert for children’s books today! I was delighted to see it in the list.


  1. From the synopsis, this book pulls no punches. The world is a difficult enough place and one in which many teenagers feel isolated ~ without having to deal with Aspergers Syndrome. This author seems unafraid to tackle the truth!


    • You’re right. It doesn’t pull any punches. Drea may have Aspergers, but the other characters have their own issues. Music brings them together and ultimately has a healing impact. I really enjoyed this book. Look forward to the author’s new book.


  2. I’ve read Amplified, and really enjoyed it. I have Harmonic Feedback on my list, but sometimes books get lost on that list. Thanks for the review, I’m off to check to see if it’s at my library.


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