Review: Amplified by Tara Kelly

Title: Amplified
Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Macmillan (ARC)
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 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 Woodside can hack it.
Amplified is a fun read about a girl who is determined to find out if she can make it in music before committing herself to college without attempting to follow her true dream.

Jasmine is an interesting narrator because she's got aspirations, is terrified of trying to reach them, but is determined to try anyway. I admire that about her, and can relate to many of her fears and anxieties. I like that she is stubborn enough to go forward with it even though she's afraid and unsure. The other members of C-Side are great characters as well. Veta is fun and fearless, and she is instrumental in helping Jasmine get into a situation where she can potentially be successful. Sean is more difficult to win over but still offers Jasmine encouragement when she needs it. Felix is a pacifist and is funny and endearing. And Bryn is overbearing, but is also hard-working and underappreciated.

Santa Cruz is the perfect backdrop for these characters and their band. It provides the serenity of the ocean while still maintaining an edge. The pacing is steady, without being rushed or containing lulls, so it is easy to breeze through this story. Jasmine pushes herself and battles her fears, on stage and off. Her growth as a person and a musician are noticeable. Her relationship development with the members of her band is well-done. I particularly like the relationship between Jasmine and Sean. There are some romantic feelings there, but it is not the focus of the story and in the end I really like where they end up.

I also love Kelly's descriptions of the music. (This is one of my favorite things about books in which music plays an important role - the way authors translate sounds to words.) I enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend it to lovers of ya contemporary novels, music-themed reads, and stories in which the protag must overcome fears in order to achieve personal goals.


  1. I really enjoyed this one as well and I was SO nervous when she was on stage! I about had a heart attack at her first show right along with her.
    I've also discovered that I love books where the characters have very little to no family or feel all alone and discover a family in friendship with new people and that's kind of what happens here. It took awhile, but they kind of became a family.
    So glad you enjoyed this one too!

  2. I really like to read this book! Sounds very interesting and fun to read. Nice review.

    Here's my Review of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

  3. Awesome! I'm so excited for this book it's a bit ridiculous! I LOVE Contemporary YA, and I loved Kelly's debut novel, so this is DEFINITELY one that I'm all excited for! :D

  4. Hi--I'm your newest follower! :) This review caught my eye. Amplified sounds really good, and you write so well. I'll have to keep a look out for this at my library!


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