Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Reviewed by Noelle: April 18, 2012
Published May 25, 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.
Goodreads • Buy on AmazonKindleBook Depository

Tara Kelly has a knack for writing engaging stories.  In fact, this is the second book by her that I have read in nearly one sitting.  But while her writing can certainly grab a hold of me, it doesn't have a particularly strong grip.  I was engaged while I was reading but didn't spend much time thinking about it when I put it down. Still, Harmonic Feedback is an interesting novel with a unique voice.

Said unique voice is a result of heroine Drea's "touch of Asperger's".   In this case, "touch of Asperger's" means the inability to recognize social cues or sarcasm and difficulty censoring her spoken thoughts.  She also dresses like Courtney Love back when she was the girl with the most cake.  As you can imagine Drea is a real hit on the first day at a new school. 

Despite her social awkwardness, Drea attracts the attention of wild child, vivacious Naomi who appreciates her blunt honesty and seemingly good little rich boy Justin who turns out to understand both Drea and Naomi a lot better than they think. The trio connect through their love of music and the story grows from there, primarily focusing on Drea's evolving relationship with the world around her.

As you all know (Stockholm Syndrome has set in by now, right?) I am a music lover. Although I have my favorites, my love isn't restricted by genre.  Yet, when I think soul-gripping, speak-directly-to-my-heart music, "let me adjust the stabilizers on the distortion" doesn't come to mind.  So while it was intriguing to think of how someone like Drea might react to music in different ways than I do, Drea's passion for producing music didn't sweep me off my feet, you know what I mean?  When I think of the power of music, I expect something more like this:

Let's just say one of these things had me sniffling in my cubicle and Harmonic Feedback wasn't it.  The book is about a lot more than music of course--would it be hypocritical of me to say I kind of wish it had focused more on music?--and while the middle of the story grew a little repetitive,  I remained invested in Drea, Naomi and Justin's story the entire way through.  In the end it just didn't resonate with me as deeply as I had hoped.
Rating 3/5 stars.


  1. Fantastic review, Noelle. I've not even heard of this one before.
    It's weird though, I absolutely love music but I'm never all that fussed about reading books about music. Maybe it's because I've never really read any books about it...

    I'll keep an eye out for this one though. :D

    1. Thanks Jo :) I've definitely been hit and miss with music books. There have been a few gems in the mix though. --N

  2. Oh gosh, THAT VIDEO! I can't believe how awake and talkative that man was. And when he sang "I'll be home for Christmas..." :(

    Also this review is very good. :D I wonder if that's the reason why I tend not to appreciate "music" books - I never feel like they come close to capturing how I feel about it. I think maybe that's something that's just impossible to capture in words.

    1. Thanks Catie! When he started singing "I'll be home" I totally choked up! And regarding "music" books--I'd be interested to see a book that featured a music FAN not an actual musician. I wonder if that would make a difference? --N

  3. This sounds like an interesting book, Noelle. I feel like I've heard of it but I'm not sure but I do like that it's about music. Also, I'm a sucker for school kids becoming friends, so this is something I now want to read!

    1. Tara Kelly's books are compulsively readable so I think you'll enjoy it Mandee :) Thanks for commenting as always!! --N


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