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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Amplified

Amplified - Tara Kelly This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The cover is simple, but fitting. I like the incorporation of the title as part of the amp and the use of the often overlook, puke-green color. The Gist: Jasmine Kiss has fled the stifling world of academia and an overbearing father for the streets of Santa Cruz and the chance to lose herself in her music. When the perfect opportunity of a place to stay and a spot in an up and coming band lands in her path, Jasmine has to fight her way in and convince both the band, and herself, that she belongs.Review: Jasmine is the kind of character you want to hug, hand a cup of tea and tell "oh sweetie, you are so young". She comes from a privileged background and, at the beginning, comes off as a 17 year old princess who doesn't realize how good she has it. I will be honest, I sympathized with the father. You have hopes and dreams for your children and then they turn around and make the choices that you think will lead them into pain and trouble. Of course, as the story wore on and I learned more about dear old daddy (particularly him telling Jasmine she was lucky to be plain looking) I began to see where she was coming from. This is not a story of action and suspense, it is a story of friendship and growth. I felt honored to watch Jasmine learn some life lessons and come into her own as a musician. This is the type of novel that smacks of REAL. The characters have major flaws, they make real, teenage mistakes and (sometimes) own up and learn from them. The love interest made my heart flutter and remember how exciting those exploratory days were, when excitement and nerves melded together and made butterflies dance inside your stomach. There were no real "villains" but even the characters that I disliked could be seen as having bigger issues at play. I was particularly glad that, while Jasmine does learn and grow from her experiences, she does not change into a whole new person and we know that she still has a ways to go.The one thing about this book that I could not relate to was the music descriptions. I know NOTHING about music, I am a casual listener at best and I found myself skimming some of the sections where the band played and Jasmine's each and every move on the guitar was recorded. This is a personal issue, I know. I can, however, imagine those to be the favorite parts of someone who does "get" music and understands the lingo. I do wish this book could have somehow been bundled with a soundtrack so that I could have connected what I was reading with what I was hearing. This book should appeal to budding musicians and anyone that enjoys well-drawn characters with a dash of romance. It should be noted (as described below) there are some scenes and language that may not be appropriate for those on the younger end of the Young Adult spectrum.Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 16 and upGender: Will probably be more appealing to girls.Sex: Spoken about, alluded to, but not actually described.Violence: NoneInappropriate Language: Douches, Jacking Off, Giving Head, Fucking, Pricks, BitchSubstance Abuse: Smoking, underage drinking