Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Amplified

When privileged seventeen-year-old Jasmine decides she doesn't want to go to college, her father kicks her out. Left to fend for herself, Jasmine takes her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convincce 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 Woodside can hack it.

In a Nutshell: While a bit predictable, Amplified still proves to be a fun and feisty story of music, first love, and discovering your own true worth.

Putdownability Factor: The teen speak in this novel definitely made it a quick, relatable read.

Cover Love: I'm not really digging the yellow color scheme (or the boots and fishnets for that matter...) but I do love that its an amp. Kind of clever considering the title is Amplified, am I right??? :P

My Thoughts

I throughly enjoyed this book. It's fun, and fresh, and basically makes my desire to learn bass guitar grow even stronger.* I haven't read any other YA books lately that have music as such an integral part of the novel, and after reading Amplified, I definitely would love to see more!

Tara Kelly was really able to capture the essence of the teen spirit in this novel. Each character had a lot of realism and integrity. They weren't just cookie cutter characters. They had a lot of unique qualities to them. My favorite character was most definitely Jasmine. She was kickass awesome! I loved her passion for life and music, and how she was willing to fight, fight, fight for what she wanted. I could totally relate to her character because we were similar in so many ways. I just love it when I have similarities with book characters! It makes a story that much more amazing.

One of the things I liked best about Amplified is that it addressed a lot of issues that teenagers with self-esteem and self worth. Oftentimes we sell ourselves short, or feel that we aren't worth much, when in reality that's just because we believe the lies that the world throws at us. There was one point in Amplified where Jasmine said:

"I wanted something real. I wanted to matter."

Who hasn't wanted that at sometime in their life? Who hasn't wanted to feel loved, feel needed, feel worthy, or feel accepted? I loved that Amplified stressed the fact that everyone has value, even if others can't see it, or don't appreciate it.

 The one thing that I sort of subtracted from Amplified was the cliche romance between Jasmine and Sean. It was the classic "girl hates boy, then realizes he isn't a jerk after all and falls in love with him" scenario. While it was an important element to the story I just feel like it could have been executed in a slightly less predictable fashion. But hey, I am the romance hater so it could just be me.

Overall Amplified was a fun and enjoyable read. It could have benefited from being a little less predictable in the romance department but honestly that was the only thing that bothered me. I give it 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Who would I recommend this to? Teens who like contemporary novels, or music or both!

Julia :)

*I've always wanted to learn a second instrument and bass guitar is the top of the list. Everyone knows the cool girls play bass guitar, am I right? XD

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