Name: Amplified by Tara Kelly.
Publication: October 25th 2011/Henry Holt and Co.
"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."
I will come straight out with it, I LOVED Amplified. Loved it! I read it one sitting, I actually didn't want to put it down!
Amplified is the second music-based Young Adult novel I've read and reviewed in the past two days, the other being Struts & Frets which you can read here. I loved both. There is something about Amplified that just stands out for me. I think it the authenticity in Jasmine's voice.
There is a realism in the book about how dreams rarely live up to expectations in reality. Sure, Jasmine has music to play but can she overcome her lack of stage presence?
I really connected with Jasmine. She is one tough cookie with great retorts. She is not afraid to speak her mind. Jasmine does not let people in yet under her icy exterior there is a vulnerability. This vulnerability is caused by feeling abandonment as well as the fear of failure and having to show her father that she was wrong. This, to me, was realistic because I know first-hand that teenagers hate being wrong!
I must say, I have a soft spot for Sean and by soft spot, I mean, I think I kinda love him. He's just my type of guy. Got to love a guy in a fedora. ;) Snarky yet caring at the right times. The electric chemistry between Sean and Jasmine really gave the book an even more addictive quality. I liked the fact the relationship between them is not pushed, it's just natural and steady!
All the other secondary characters such as Veta, Bryn, Felix and Jason had something endearing about them as well that made you keep reading. I liked how all the C-Side member bounced off each other personality wise yet musically made the perfect match! I would love to have heard more from Jason.
What also made Amplified feel natural for me is the fact that Jasmine and her Dad did not work things out and hugged it all out in the end like in most books. He did not come to the gig and say 'I see it now. This is what you are meant to do for the rest your life' and I am glad that because I was getting sick of those endings!