Drea and her mother are moving. Again. This time to the small town of Bellingham and into Grandma Horvath’s house. Drea isn’t looking forward to yet another new school, especially because she’s always had trouble making friends. Drea has been diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s and she just doesn’t understand some of the social rules that everyone else seem to instinctively know. Much to Drea’s surprise, Grandma’s neighbor is a friendly, purple-haired girl named Naomi who seems to actually like Drea. Drea and Naomi connect over a mutual love of music and Naomi isn’t scared off by Drea’s straight-forward manner, but Naomi has some problems of her own, things Drea isn’t quite sure how to handle.
Drea also meets Justin, another new student who shares her passion for music. She and Justin get off to a shaky start as she tries to figure out exactly who he is and what he wants from her. Plus, Justin has a few secrets of his own.
Drea, Naomi, and Justin form a band together and a fast friendship but those bonds might not be enough to hold the group together as one of the trio quickly spins dangerously out of control.
Harmonic Feedback is a powerful, realistic, and poignant novel that manages to cover so much ground but do it in such gentle way. Whether teens have Asperger’s or not they will be able to connect with Drea and share in many of her feelings of uncertainty regarding high school and relationships even if they do not experience these things in the same way she does. The romance is done beautifully. My heart just did a little hiccup as I thought about it while typing. Naomi’s experiences are tough but real and well-done. Despite all her flaws and all of her mistakes in judgment, readers will be rooting for her until the very end. For me, this book was such an unexpected, amazing, delightful surprise and has made it to my list of favorites for the year.