sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 29, 2011


into the stacks: harmonic feedback
posted by soe 2:04 am

I’m way behind in my book posting, but thought I might try to catch up this week. I read this back at the beginning of February:

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

From the jacket: “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 trip-hop band after an impromptu jam session. 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.

My take: This book is precisely the sort of book I would have read in high school. Because of that, though, I knew right from the start how the novel was going to play out. There are some perils to being twice the age of the intended audience.

That said, I enjoyed it. I liked Drea as a main character. She’s never had a friend before, between her illness, which makes her have a hard time reading people, and frequent moves caused by her mom’s poor boyfriend choices. However, when, under duress, they must both move in with grumpy Grandma Horvath, a friend literally appears on the doorstep just after they arrive. Naomi is quick and fun and likes to test boundaries, which makes her both kind of scary for Drea but also exciting. Plus, she can play the drums and, it turns out, has an amazing voice.

That turns out to be a good thing because on her first day of school, Drea meets another new student, Justin, who, after a few false starts, becomes her second friend. He plays the keyboards, has similar taste in music to Drea, and is willing to teach her how to drive.

Unfortunately, just as Drea finally feels like things are coming together for her with making friends, forming a band, and creating a workable family living situation, other things start to show signs of fraying at the edges. Can Drea and her friends work things out to achieve a well-blended harmony? Or will they fall apart in an unsynchronized mess?

Pages: 280

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