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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Amplified by Tara Kelly

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. . .
My list of ultimate favorites just got a little longer after reading Amplified. This story is an incredible mash up of music, independence, romance, and all forms of hilarity. It follows recent high school graduate Jasmine as she breaks free from her overbearing father and for once in her life follows her own passion, playing guitar. Of course this means she's completely lost, trying to find a place to live, a band to work with and a job to pay for everything, but thats only half the battle. Throw in some mixed signals from the hot bass player, the critical eyes of her dream band and an extreme case of stage fright and you could call this book 'the next big hit'.

Kelly did an amazing job creating this very real and relatable character of Jasmine. She's a good girl who's just always wanted to have a choice for her own. Any person could relate. I ecpecially loved the girl because she takes the initiative to do something for herself once, even if its the scariest and most impossible decision ever. The girl has guts and that made me respect her even more. On top of the stress of trying to make it on her own, she never once pulls a 'whiny girl' moment. She's strong and fierce and makes me wish that when I was that young I could pull something like this off.

The story itself was perfect. The progression of Jasmine being welcomed into the band was very realistic and the troubles of trying to fit in and please everyone was to be expected. I loved that Kelly didn't just write about a band practicing or a band playing a gig. She acutally incorporates the nuances and chemistry of music into the writing. And for someone who couldn't tell you the difference between a guitar and a bass it was incredibly cool to read. The music itself felt like another character; the passion behind it was so well written that it comes alive on the pages just like it does for music-lover Jasmine.

The band itself was another fantastic aspect of this book. Each character held their own individuality and no one fell to the background. Despite being vastly different from one another, they all gelled really well together and made up a hilarious rag-tag family. One of my top favorite things about this book would be the chemistry and banter back and forther between the group mates. They pick on each other and joke around and make you laugh at their hysterics. It was great and totally made me feel like one of their groupies.

With all the fun of this book, there were definitely some depressing undertones to balance everything out. The struggles Jasmine faces to make her father understand her decision were heartbreaking and the strain in their relationship is evident. Then, the rollercoaster ride between Jasmine and Sean would kill any girl's last nerve as well as melt her heart. It's enough to drive me crazy. Although Jasmine gets her happy ending, this book showcases the difficutly of making that tough choice to follow your dream and that sometimes happiness isn't some cake walk. I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars and think everyone, music lover or not, would fall in love with this story!


  1. I must read this one! The review is smashing, but more than that, I love music novels - might have something to do with me being a closet metal guitar player, you never know.

    I'll be sure to check this one out. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

  2. Ahh!! I REALLY want to read this. I'll have to get this book the next time I'm at the book store for sure. Your review was fantastic by the way! I love detailed reviews. =)

  3. Great review for a great book. :) It's an interesting mix, the story of Jasmine finding her place in general combined with her finding her place in the band and her struggling along the way.

  4. Awesome!! I was on a tour for this book, but sadly moved during the process and wasn't able to read it. If you loved then I know I should!

  5. I really want to get this one soon it sounds really fun to read and I'm in need of a lighter/fun book! Wonderful review!

    Xpresso Reads