Available now (Oct. 2011)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Review copy purchased
When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine 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 over the hill can hack it. . .
Positive: Jasmine. She's a great character, filled with strength and determination tempered by some very real fears and vulnerability. After playing the role of the perfect daughter and student her entire life, she finally tells her dad that she's putting off college to pursue her dream. Dad's not so supportive and kicks her to the curb. Despite this huge set-back, she forges ahead and finds ways over the obstacles in her path.
Positive: The music. You can tell this is written by someone who not only knows how to play a guitar but who also absolutely loves music. That passion oozes from the pages, infusing every word.
Positive: This story made me cry! "And that's a good thing?" you ask. Most definitely. I don't cry very often (okay, there's that one commercial with the dad who writes emails to his baby daughter but it's rare that I tear up) and, when a book touches me enough to start the waterworks, it's definitely a good thing. I really got attached to Jasmine!
Wish: A bit more depth to the secondary characters. While important to the overall plot, they felt a bit flat to me. For example, I really wanted to get to know Jasmine's bandmates, especially Bryn. I learned just enough to be intrigued but not enough to satisfy.
Overall: Resonating with the passion and pain of forging your own path, Amplified strikes just the right note.