Release: May 25th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.
Summary: Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on a touch of Asperger’s.”
Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.
It’s obvious that Drea can’t hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she’s found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?
Review: I admit I've waited for weeks to read this book. I don't know why, maybe because of the cover, of the title, or the story itself. I've finally read it. And I have to warn you before I start this review : when you read the summary, you think you are going to deal with a story about the power of music on people. Even if the novel DOES talk about music, it's not the main topic. To me, the whole novel is about accepting yourself for who you are, no matter what. This is one of the reasons why I've enjoyed it.
In Harmonic Feedback we are dealing with Drea, a girl who recently moved in her grand mother's house with her mother. Even if she doesn't want to accept it, Drea is not a normal girl : indeed, she has a " touch of Asperger " as the psychiatrists said. Her disease is not the main topic of the book, but in a way, it explains a lot of things, like for instance, Drea's behaviour at the beginning of the book. Yeah, throughout the book, I've wanted to slap her a couple of times. But I guess it's okay, given that I appreciate to have love/hate relationships with characters, especially when they are so well written. First, there is Naomi, Drea's neighbour, who loves to kiss people under a pourring rain, has crappy tastes in music and has a kind of self-destructive behaviour sometimes. I really liked Naomi because she is so much more complex than she looks like; she has a well-hidden dark side, which gives her more and more interest in the middle of the novel. And there is Justin, the new guy in school. Woohoo. The timeless charm of the new guy in school : no news in YA books. But instead of just being cute, tattoed, and a musician (sexy and dangerous, yummy), Justin is hiding his own secrets from everyone, and I'm sure you'll be surprised about his past. I was.
Considering that Harmonic Feedback was Tara Kelly's debut novel, I was scared about her writing style. But it didn't last too long, because Kelly's style is poetic, full of good rhythm, but also slightly melodramatic, which is fair enough in view of the whole story. But one of the greatest aspects of this book is all the music references, and we are dealing here with HUGE artists, like Snow Patrol, Poe, Bjork and above all Black Lab, Kelly's favourite band. By the way, you can ( you have to) find the characters playlist on the Harmonic Feedback website. There are some pretty good songs to listen to, believe me.
So, to conclude, I'm giving this book five stars, because of the good characterization, beautiful writing, and great references. I'm looking forward to read Tara Kelly's forthcoming novel called " C-Side Tales " in 2011. Can't freaking wait
(review by Mika)