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Amplified by Tara Kelly

AmplifiedThe one thing that Jasmine Kiss wants more than anything is to be a musician. But when she picks her music over college, her father kicks her out of the house, leaving Jasmine with no place to live and a whole slew of new problems. She finds a nice room to rent, but now she needs to convince the three other guys living in the house that she’ll be the best roommate. She finds a band looking for a guitarist, but now she needs to show them that she’s worth their time.  Too bad Jasmine the band’s bassist has doubts about Jasmine’s skills. Too bad Jasmine’s seriously starting to have a crush on the same guy. And most of all, it’s too bad that Jasmine has a serious case of stage fright.

I was a big fan of Kelly’s musically inspired debut Harmonic Feedback, so I had high hopes that I would be similarly impressed by her second novel Amplified. And for the most part, I was. Kelly’s portrayal of a girl on her own for the first time is so genuine. Readers will be able to truly sympathize with Jasmine’s struggles to take care of herself and determination to be true to her dreams. It’s so interesting to see how music is both Jasmine’s greatest source of joy as well as one of her greatest sources of fear; she is so passionate about her music but performing in front of others is at times too much pressure to handle. I love how Kelly thoroughly explores Jasmine’s relationships with those around her, because I got to see how these evolved and responded to different hardships. However, I thought Kelly could have spent a little more time on Jasmine’s relationship with her father, because he is a relatively small character in this novel despite the huge impact he has on his daughter’s life. I found the lack of discussion of family dynamics a little odd, especially since Jasmine’s father was really the catalyst this story when he kicks Jasmine out of the house, and think that one would have made the story that much stronger.

Amplified will be enjoyed by fans of Harmonic Feedback, also by Tara Kelly, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert, and Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Macmillan

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