The Book

Doctors have pinned 16-year-old Drea with everything from ADHD to Asperger's Syndrome. She has an obsession with sound design, a tendency to blurt out whatever she's thinking, and a problem making friends, but likes to think of this as following her own rhythm in a confusing world.

Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea is hesitant to befriend purple-haired Naomi, her teenage neighbor with a kamikaze personality. But Naomi is the first person to treat her like she isn't a world class dork. Then there's Justin, the sexy and persistent boy in her film class. If she's learned anything from her mom, it's that boys are trouble.

When Drea discovers Naomi's love for drums and Justin's piano prodigy status, the three form a trip-hop band and a friendship that will challenge everything Drea thought she knew about herself and the world around her.

But just when she's found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?


What readers are saying

"Complex and multifaceted characters give this story warmth, heart and maturity. Drea's diagnosis informs her experiences and behaviors but refreshingly does not define her character..."

Kirkus Reviews

"Alternately heartwarming and heartbreaking, Harmonic Feedback is a book about acceptance, exclusion, joy, pain, loss, and finding your way in a world that makes no sense to you. In short, it is a very real view of what it means to be a teen today and a fine first novel for Tara Kelly."

Ellen Hopkins
New York Times Bestselling Author of Crank, Burned, Glass, Impulse, and Tricks.

"Harmonic Feedback is an impossible to put down, must-read book. Brilliantly written and filled with music, but even more so with emotional truth. Anyone who felt like an outsider will relate to Drea's story, which is not just about Aspergers, but finding love and true friendship and trying to hold on to it. We've all been there, but you get a fresh and honest take on teenage life through Drea's eyes."
Read her full review at YaReads.com

Stephanie Kuehnert
Author of Ballads of Suburbia and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

"Your characters were so relatable and authentic. In fact, I have not read a book with such real characters in a long time. Your dialogue rang so true, even little nuances, and totally held me captivated."

Margie Gelbwasser
Author of the upcoming Inconvenient (Flux, 2010)



Read more full reviews at

A note about Harmonic Feedback

Harmonic Feedback is not about defining Asperger's Syndrome (AS) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It's about one girl's story and experience--which I hope everyone (whether on the autistic spectrum or not) can relate to. Each individual has a unique personality and set of challenges, and this is an ongoing theme in Harmonic Feedback, both with Drea and the people in her life.

Drea's story was inspired by my own experiences living with ADHD and by my younger brother who is on the autistic spectrum. Both of us experienced difficulties with socialization as children and as teens. I recall teachers calling me "socially immature" and feeling like I was on the outside looking in. My brother experienced this to a larger degree, both academically and socially, but he has made amazing strides. He is now a 21 year-old college student living on his own and, like many of us, battling a tough job market.

I've learned a lot from my brother and from others in my life who have been diagnosed with AS or an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). They are among the most self-aware people I know, because most have been trying to compensate for their differences since childhood. Some display very mild symptoms. In fact, you probably wouldn't know they'd been diagnosed with anything if they didn't mention it. This describes Drea. She attends mainstream classes and exhibits only very mild symptoms, but she still has everyday frustrations and challenges, including questioning whether anything is wrong with her at all.

For more information, please check out a couple of my favorite websites:
Wrong Planet: An Asperger and Autism community
Dr. Tony Attwood: author of several books on Asperger's Syndrome.


You can also find clinical information on Asperger's Syndrome, other autistic spectrum disorders, and ADHD at the following websites:
CDC's ADHD Homepage
Autism Information Center