Amplified (fiction)

Amazing rock guitar skills.
Determination to make great music.
Seriously paralyzing stage fright.
Two out of three, okay??

The band members are skeptical about whether anyone from ritzy Westside can really play authentic lead guitar. What would a rich girl know about true industrial rock?

Throw in the synth player’s bright blue hair (his tutu doesn’t clash), the lead singer’s habit of chasing cute girls just before going on stage (it’s her life, but gotta be on time), and Sean’s hostile attitude toward Jasmine – well, stage fright might be the least of her worries… not really.

Tara Kelly effortlessly brings readers into the highs and lows of the C-Side band. On this Fun Friday, root for Jasmine to break through her fears and play what’s in her soul.

Book info: Amplified / Tara Kelly. Henry Holt, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Well, that’s that. Thrown out of dad’s house because she wants to play guitar for a year before going to college, Jasmine has to find a job and somewhere to live – now.

When her old car dies in front of a repair shop, she hopes that’s a good sign; an encounter with a scowling dude who works there convinces her otherwise. So with the car in the shop till she can pay for parts, Jas is forced to carry her electric guitar everywhere as she searches for a non-crazy roommate (why is this so hard in coastal California?) and competes with every high school kid for a no-experience-required job.

An ad seeking a guitarist catches her eye – hmm, room to rent included. “Guys only” or not, it’s her best hope, so she puts on her best rock musician face and asks for an audition. The band’s singer helps her get a job in a psychic’s shop, while Jas tries to steady her nerves before the tryout. And in walks the guy from the car shop, bass player for the band and the singer’s brother, ready to toss Jasmine out without even hearing her play…

Is Jas really good enough to be in C-Side? Will Sean ever get over his attitude toward her? Can Jas get over her stage fright and actually perform on stage (or is her dad going to win the argument about musicians being losers)?

Musicians will love the swooping descriptions of the indie rock music that Jas and her new friends create, while readers less familiar with musical vocabulary will find new ways to explain what they hear in their favorite songs, thanks to the author’s lyrical ability to turn melodies, harmonies, and rhythms into evocative printed words. Come on over to the club scene of Santa Cruz and the raw world of industrial rock – Amplified. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

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