Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: October 25, 2011
When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it...
In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified.
My Thoughts: I knew there was a reason why I added Tara Kelly to my favorite authors list back in 2010. Her debut novel Harmonic Feedback was a favorite read of mine that year, and her second novel Amplified became one of my most anticipated novels for 2011. Just like with her debut, once I started reading Amplified I couldn't stop! I stayed up very late and finally went to sleep when I had only about 20 pages left to read. I loved Amplified as much as Harmonic Feedback, and it was another authentic coming-of-age and music novel by Tara Kelly.
I admit, when I first read the summary of Amplified, it sounded like it would be a cute and light read. I don't believe the summary reveals enough of the depth that can be found in this novel. It would have been so easy for the author to make the main character Jasmine's situation and her relationship with the other characters simple and convenient to resolve. But she didn't make it easy for Jasmine or the rest of the characters, and I loved that. It felt true and real. Including the music, which was another aspect I loved about the novel.
What I loved about Jasmine was how deep her passion for music and playing guitar was. She believed in her ability to create music, but she tended to be awkward around people and had some issues when it came to performing in front of crowds. She was pretty stubborn though and determined to prove herself. I found Jasmine to be such an easy character for me to relate to, and it was her awkwardness and determination that made me root for her. She really had to work hard to overcome her fears and prove that she deserved a chance.
My heart also went out to Jasmine because of the difficult situation she was in. Not only did she have to prove herself to the band, but her strict father kicked her out for postponing college. She basically had no money and decided not to say anything to her new band-mates because she doesn't quite trust others nor does she want to burden anyone with her problems. It would have been easier if she had spoken up, but I know the feeling of not wanting to let anyone know if something is wrong. There's shame and embarrassment involved, so I completely understand why she felt the need to keep it to herself.
Her band-mates were all interesting people, but I want to just focus on one of them, the bassist Sean. When Sean first appeared, he really wasn't nice to Jasmine. I assumed he would be one of those bad boys, but once Jasmine got to know him, he's actually a smart and good (and cute!) guy who's not perfect. I really adored his character, and it was great reading how Jasmine's relationship with him gradually changed and developed as the story progressed. I loved their moments together, but like I mentioned, the author didn't take the easy route with these characters. Once Jasmine and Sean's relationship started getting a bit serious, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows from there, which to me made it that much more realistic.
Like Harmonic Feedback, Amplified was such an authentic, relatable, and wonderful read. Tara Kelly is definitely an author to look out for! (Also, I know I'm being biased, but I have to say that out of all the authors I've read books by, Tara Kelly is the one with the best taste in music!) I'm so looking forward to reading her next novel. And I really hope there are sequels to Amplified in the works because these characters all have their own stories that should be told. But whatever novel comes next, I just know I won't be disappointed.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars